JEFFERSON CITY — Special Agent Doug Scotten, of the Missouri Department of Revenue’s Compliance and Investigation Bureau (CIB), recently worked an investigation with the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) that ultimately led to the breakup of a suspected “chop shop” operation in Independence, Missouri.
“I want to commend Agent Scotten and the Missouri State Highway Patrol for their great work in this case,” said Department Director Joel Walters. “Thanks to their investigation, there’s now one less illegal enterprise in the state of Missouri and several reports of stolen vehicles have been resolved.”
After Brian Sollars posted a picture on Facebook of his 2012 GMC pickup that had been stolen from his residence, he was contacted on Facebook by a stranger who claimed he knew the truck’s location and was able to provide an accurate description. The anonymous source gave Sollars the address, which was for a shop and storage lot on N Atherton Road in Independence. Sollars then reached out to the Bates County Sheriff’s Office, who forwarded the information to Agent Scotten with the CIB. Agent Scotten then contacted the MSHP for assistance in investigating the incident.
On April 19, 2018, Agent Scotten and a MSHP trooper visited the shop and, upon receiving permission to investigate the property, observed auto body parts, vehicle transmissions and vehicle motors on the property. It appeared as though vehicles were being dismantled and salvaged on the premises. By the end of their search, Agent Scotten and the trooper had discovered more than 10 vehicles and pieces of equipment that had either been stolen or had their vehicle identification numbers (VIN) removed, including Sollars’ GMC.
“The law enforcement officers of the Department of Revenue continue to work diligently to protect the public,” said CIB Manager Nick Humphrey. “I value our partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, such as the Highway Patrol and the Bates County Sheriff’s Office, to provide a team effort in solving these types of crimes.”
Randall Bennett III, who was subleasing the lot where the stolen vehicles and equipment were found, has been charged with conducting a motor vehicle salvage business without a license.