Editor's Note: In an earlier version of this story, ABC15 reported 19 arrests. Phoenix police officials have since rescinded one of the arrest reports, saying it was not connected to this takedown.
PHOENIX - The takedown of a wide-spanning auto theft ring has resulted in the arrests of 18 Arizonans.
Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said the 15-month Operation "Tin Man" investigation uncovered a criminal organization being operated out of Hendrix Salvage and Hendrix LLC.
The investigation, a collaboration between the Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Pinal County Attorney's Office, revealed that the salvage business was allowing auto theft suspects to sell or dispose of vehicles they had stolen.
The stolen vehicles were brought to various salvage yards owned by the company in Phoenix, Coolidge and Tucson where they were destroyed to later be sold as scrap metal, according to the Thompson.
On Wednesday, search warrants were served at six business locations and eight residences across Arizona.
Thompson said teams found parts from stolen vehicles, five stolen manhole covers and two stolen guns, as well as a small amount of illegal drugs during the raids. Nineteen suspects were taken into custody, including Steve, Shane, Cornelius and Milton Hendrix.
Those arrested were booked in the Maricopa County Jail, the Pinal County Jail and the Pima County Jail with charges ranging from participating in a criminal syndicate and trafficking in stolen property to outstanding warrants and drug charges.