Police allege that two men stole more than 30 cars and trucks from people in Everett and Marysville over the past few months.
The men were selling off the parts to buy heroin and methamphetamine, said Terry Haldeman, a Snohomish County sheriff's detective assigned to the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force.
Both men were arrested this week. They were being held Friday at the Snohomish County Jail on suspicion of a pile of crimes, including some burglaries.
The chop shop was set up on a rural abandoned property off Fire Trail Road, Haldeman said. Photos from the scene show cars and trucks in various states of disassembly.
Soot and ash found on the ground was from fires the men built to burn identifying features off stolen goods, the detective said. The men also pulled all the wiring from cars and burned off the plastic so they could sell the copper as scrap metal.
The vehicles targeted mostly were Hondas, pickups and motorcycles.
About five cars were stolen in the Marysville area one morning starting about 3 a.m., Haldeman said. Some of the cars had been left running outside homes while the owners were inside.
"One guy forgot his coffee, went back in the house to get it, came back out, and the car was gone," Haldeman said.
In another haul, one of the men had dumped a stolen motorcycle in Marysville when he spotted a police officer nearby. He accidentally left his wallet and cell phone on the motorcycle.
The task force caught on to the duo back in April, when Everett police surprised one of them while he was trying to open car doors in a parking lot at Everett Community College.
The man ran from police and tried to hide by lying flat on the roof of a motor home, according to the arrest report written by task force detective Eric Fagan.
One of the alleged thieves also owned a Honda and had crashed it, Haldeman said. The detectives believe the man was stealing similar vehicles to get parts to rebuild his own car.
One of the men arrested already has a pending felony case. Police in May alleged that he tried to drive away from a traffic stop in Marysville. The man has three felony convictions from 2002 and 15 misdemeanor convictions, including two cases of driving with a suspended license so far this year.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org
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