LAND O'LAKES — A man and a woman were arrested Tuesday after Pasco sheriff's deputies said they were part of an operation to steal cars and then sell the parts to go in other cars.
Justin Paul Northrup, 27, and Joanna B. Keene, 47, are both charged with operating a chop shop. According to reports, Northrup admitted helping dismantle stolen vehicles so the parts could be sold.
Deputies say Northrup worked with Gary Baker and Dwayne Keene. Baker, 45, was arrested in April and charged with operating a chop shop at 10809 Malati St. in New Port Richey. That was also listed as the address of the crime connected to Northrup, and deputies found major parts of three stolen vehicles there, according to reports.
Joanna Keene was charged with operating a chop shop out of her home at 4116 Primavera Drive in Land O'Lakes.
Details of any link between the two chop shops aren't clear, said Pasco sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin. The investigation is ongoing, but Northrup's fingerprints traced to the New Port Richey chop shop, Tobin said, though he lives at Primavera Drive.
Dwayne Keene is Joanna's husband and is also a suspect. He's still at large, Tobin said.
Deputies who searched the Keenes' home found components of at least six stolen vehicles on the property and in cars driven by Joanna and Dwayne Keene.
Joanna Keene told deputies she knew many of the cars dismantled at her home are stolen. She and her husband argued about them frequently, she said.
Northrup and Joanna Keene are being held at Land O'Lakes jail, each in lieu of $5,000 bail.