KNOX and BELL COUNTIES, Ky. (WYMT) -
More ATVs reported stolen in Knox County were recovered in Bell County.
This is the third time this year police have found four-wheelers stolen in Knox County and hidden in the hills of Bell County. Deputies believe the thefts are connected.
Bell County Sheriff's Deputies say last week, they got a tip two ATVs were in the woods in the Dorton Branch area.
Deputies hiked a mile into the woods and found them.
"Someone was riding in the woods and stumbled up on a couple of them chained together, chained to a tree, in the middle of nowhere," said Shane Stewart, Bell County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies say it appears someone hid them there in the woods.
Investigators say both were reported stolen.
The ATVs were not far from other areas where last month investigators recovered several other ATVs stolen from Knox County.
"It's coincidental we keep getting them stolen here and then recovered in the same general location of the county," said Claude Hudson, Knox County Sheriff's Department.
"I'd say most of the four-wheeler thefts we've had are all connected," said Stewart.
There are no arrests yet in the latest ATVs found, but deputies from both the Bell and Knox County Sheriff's Departments are investigating.
"We've got some suspects but nothing we can tie them too," said Stewart.
Knox County Deputies have returned all of the recovered ATVs back to their owners. They say there are still several other stolen ATVs not located yet and they are looking for them.
Knox County Sheriff's Deputies and Kentucky State Police recovered more than $40,000 worth of stolen property at a home in Bell County.
Investigators say it appears the suspects were running a chop shop for four-wheelers.
Kristie Harris is one of the victims. She said her husband woke up early Sunday morning to go to Richmond and discovered their barn door open around 4:00 a.m. Her new 2013 Polaris RZR was missing.
"My heart dropped. You work so hard for something and somebody comes in while you're sleeping, you can't have peace at night," Harris said.
Knox County Sheriff's Deputies immediately began searching. Deputies say they found a boot print at the scene to help with the investigation.
A few hours later, deputies say they found two men on an ATV near railroad tracks and went to the men's home where they say they found a pair of boots matching the print.
Later, the investigation led them and state police to a home in the Arjay area of Bell County. There, they say found other stolen Polaris RZRs, parts for the RZRs, and a generator that were reported stolen in Knox County. Deputies say the stolen items are worth more than $40,000.
Deputies say the home appeared to be a chop shop for four-wheelers.
"They were dismantling and swapping parts, making them look different," said Derek Eubanks with the Knox County Sheriff's Department.
State Police arrested the man there, 26-year-old Justin Collett, and charged him with receiving stolen property. Deputies say they are still looking for the thieves who brought the stolen items to the home.
Meanwhile, Harris got her RZR back.
"All you can think is the worst, you're not going to get it back. Then they rolled it on the rollback and it was just unbelievable because that never happens," she said.
Investigators are in the process of returning the other recovered items to the owners.
Anyone with information on the thefts or the alleged chop shop should call the Knox County Sheriff's Department or the Kentucky State Police Post in Harlan.