Two Indicted For allegedly Running ‘Chop Shop'

PIKEVILLE -- Two Kentucky men were indicted this week on 104 charges stemming from the operation of an automobile “chop shop” in Pike and Floyd counties, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

If convicted, Marty Keith Hamilton, 50, and Gary Keathley, 52, both of Betsy Layne, face a maximum 15-year sentence and a $250,000 fine.

Hamilton owned a car detailing shop and would sometimes make duplicate keys of the cars he detailed, the indictment says. He then allegedly placed a sticker on the cars he had duplicate keys for, and would drive around various parking lots looking for them. Using his duplicate key, he would then steal the vehicle and take it back to his garage, according to the indictment, reports the Herald-Leader.

Hamilton and Keathley would then allegedly purchase similar vehicles from dealerships, replace the vehicle identification number, or VIN plate, of the stolen vehicles with the cars they legitimately purchased.

Keathley would also knowingly purchase stolen vehicles from Hamilton, the indictment alleges.

The two would sometimes transport the stolen vehicles across state lines, the indictment says. The alleged conspiracy took place between February 2001 and August 2007, the newspaper reports.

The indictment lists more than 50 vehicles — including Ford Mustangs, Volkswagen Beetles and dozens of American-manufactured SUVs, including GMC Jimmys and Jeep Grand Cherokees — that were either stolen or their VIN numbers were altered. A court date has not been set for the two men, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader

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