A chop shop, burglaries and stolen vehicles are all tied together. Several law enforcement agencies worked together to connect the cases.
The auto theft detectives at the Pima County Sheriff's Department developed information that led to the arrest of 48-year-old Jim Wagner in February.
PCSD’s air unit did the surveillance on Wagner and took video. In it, Wagner was seen pulling a fiber glass dune buggy on a trailer. Deputies conducted a traffic stop.
Two weeks earlier, detectives said the trailer was seen on the video. The dune buggy was stolen along with other items.
“A warrant was obtained for Mr. Wagner's property, where they were able to locate the stolen dune buggy, toy hauler camper and an ATV," said Ryan Inglett, a spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. "Those items were returned to their owners."
News 4 Tucson spoke to the owner of the dune buggy. He said he was elated they had found his stolen property in such a short amount of time. He said he thought it was gone for good.
He said it was being stored at a friend's house until he finished construction of the house he was building. When he went to get the dune buggy, it was gone.
He said he had the utmost respect for the detectives. The victim said they were very professional and worked hard to solve his case, as well as the other cases involving Wagner.
“We're talking in the thousands of dollars, very easily when you start adding up all the items that he had on his property that were located as a result of the search warrant,” Inglett said.
Wagner was charged with one count of conducting a chop shop, three counts of auto theft, two counts of trafficking in stolen property and two counts of burglary.
Inglett said this case was extremely successful, and showed how well PCSD and its partners can work together. He credits the Arizona Auto Theft Task Force, Tucson Police Department and PCSD’s air unit with helping the auto theft unit.
He said this is all in an effort to keep the public safe.