PD: Auto theft investigation prompts raids across Valley

PHOENIX - Local and federal law enforcement agencies served search warrants at five locations across the state Wednesday as part of a year-long auto theft investigation.

Air15 video showed Phoenix police and Department of Public Safety officers descending on Hendrix and Co. Recycling near 9th Street and Broadway just after 8 a.m.

Warrants were executed Wednesday morning at several Phoenix locations, as well as in Tucson and Coolidge, Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

Sources tell ABC15 the warrants are part of the 15-month "Operation Tin Man" investigation across parts of the western United States, involving a wide-spanning auto theft organization and a second ring they call "El Gallo" which focused on stolen construction equipment.

Officials said 14 people have been taken into custody in connection with the case.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson confirmed many of them are members of the Hendrix family which own four of the five businesses raided.

Thompson told ABC15 family members arrested will be charged as a syndicated crime organization.

A family member on scene at Hendrix and Co. Recycling told ABC15 the business was founded by her grandfather more than 70 years ago, they have consistently contributed to the community, and they have no idea why police have served a search warrant.

"We have done everything law abiding and like I said, have helped out the community for many, many years,"  C. Hendrix said.

According to Captain Bruce Campbell with DPS, the family business was helping out car thieves by giving them a place to dispose of vehicles in a quick manner.

Detectives said luxury cars were typically shipped overseas.

Thompson said Phoenix police and DPS are being assisted by the Pima County Sheriff's Office, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, the Glendale and Goodyear police departments, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures.

The operation has reportedly been going on for years, and law enforcement agencies had to pool their resources to effectively bring down the suspects, officials said.

The investigation is ongoing with more arrests expected in the next few days.




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