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St. Pete men stole classic cars, broke into businesses across Pinellas, police say

The findings are a result of a 10-month investigation led by the St. Petersburg Police Department.

ST. PETERSBURG — Two men carried out more than 50 car thefts and burglaries across Pinellas County, a 10-month police investigation has found.

James Dylan Netherly, 38, and his accomplice, 39-year-old Jason Lee Canady, targeted classic cars from the 1980s and 1990s, often stripping them for parts then dumping the remains in alleys and parking lots across the county, according to St. Petersburg police. Sometimes, they used the stolen cars to burglarize businesses, stealing merchandise such as cigarettes, lawn equipment and shoes.

The crimes occurred between July 2019 and early 2020 in St. Petersburg and six other jurisdictions throughout the county, including Clearwater, Pinellas Park and Largo. The men operated a chop shop in the backyard of a home at 757 13th Ave. S in St. Petersburg, which jail records list as Netherly’s home address.

Related: Cold cases to hot sand: Pinellas homicide detective’s work not just a day at the beach

The men broke into the cars using methods such as hot-wiring or punching locks, said acting Lt. Ricardo Lopez during a news conference Thursday.

“They kind of knew how to get the cars the old school way,” Lopez said.

They stole more than 25 classic cars, police said. The models included Chevrolet El Caminos and Tahoes that ranged in price from $5,000 to $40,000.

“These are cars that people took pride in," Lopez said.

Tattoos led to Nethery’s demise, the lieutenant said. While committing the crimes, he’d usually cover a distinct pattern of tattoos on his wrist. But in one case, a surveillance video caught him reaching for something. His sleeve slipped up his arm, revealing the tattoo that police were able to match to other photos of him.

Nethery faces 22 charges in all: 15 counts of grand theft auto, five counts of commercial burglary and two counts of residential burglary. Canady faces five counts of grand theft auto, and one count each of commercial burglary, dealing in stolen property and altering a vehicle identification number. They also face charges in more than 20 cases in other jurisdictions around the county, St. Petersburg police said.

Nethery has been in the Pinellas County jail since January and Canady since February. They both remained Thursday in lieu of $277,150 bail for Nethery and Canady in lieu of $50,000 bail.

A sampling of arrest reports describe some of the crimes. In October, Nethery stole thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes from two convenience stores in Pinellas Park, records show.

In another case the next month, a surveillance video captured Nethery breaking into a Jeep and “aggressively damaging the ignition," a detective wrote, until the headlights were activated and he could drive away. About an hour later, Nethery and Canady used the Jeep to carry out a burglary at a Shell gas station.

The Jeep was later found with the interior covered in white house paint.

Related: How the Home Depot’s stolen tools are fueling Florida’s drug trade

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