PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Over the course of two stolen vehicle operations, authorities said that they made 35 arrests and discovered a chop shop.
On May 12 and May 19, officers from the Portland Police Bureau and Gresham Police Department worked with the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office to conduct the stolen vehicle operations in both Portland and Gresham.
“We looked at the VIN and it wasn’t in the right spot. So that was our first clue that something’s not right here,” said PPB Lieutenant Norman Staples.
During those two days, police said they arrested 35 people, serviced 34 warrants, recovered 31 stolen or suspected stolen vehicles and seized 10 illegal firearms and two illegal suppressors.
During the course of the operations, authorities said they attempted a traffic stop on a stolen vehicle where the driver attempted to elude officers.
They said the vehicle and driver were eventually located on Northeast Wasco Street in Gresham and during the investigation they discovered several other stolen vehicles, tools for disassembling vehicles and tools for replacing VIN numbers and realized they had discovered a chop shop.
“He filled in the VIN and then painted over it. We found that and realized the car was stolen. In the same spot, we saw some other very expensive cars and it was very odd for the location we were at. And so, we started checking on those cars and those cars started coming back as stolen also,” Staples said.
After presenting a search warrant, officers said they recovered seven more confirmed stolen vehicles and eight suspected stolen vehicles, as well as six guns and two homemade suppressors.
The driver who attempted to flee was identified as Chris Norwood Young, 34, who officials said now faces 51 charges, including, but not limited to, eight counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, six counts of felon in possession of a firearm and 16 counts of recklessly endangering another person.
“For most families, cars are their sole transportation to get from place to place, so being able to return those is nice. Getting the weapons, we know that we have a gun epidemic in Portland, and now we’ve gotten rid of six of them, plus some suppressors.”
Despite previous convictions for similar crimes in 2017, during his arraignment Monday, a judge granted Young bail on the grounds that he had never failed to appear in court before. He was out of jail the following day.
“It’s unfortunate that he got out on such a low bail, but that’s a courts and judicial thing. That’s not a law enforcement thing. For us, we still put 51 charges on him, which is a lot of charges and he’s still going to have to answer to those charges,” Staples said.