Alleged Car Thief Busted At Salvage Yard

Friday, April 4th 2014, 10:55 pm
By: News 9

Valley Brook Police said car thieves trying to turn a quick profit are going to salvage yards and a 31-year-old thief picked the wrong one.

The staff at Automotive Recycling Services in Valley Brook called police on March 27 when Reinaldo Olivas came in to sell a possibly stolen car.

"We want no part of that," said Del Lankford with Automotive Recycling Services. "We want to present an atmosphere that a family would feel comfortable walking into."

Officers confirmed the car was stolen, but Olivas was already gone.

"Basically it all starts with honest business owners. They alerted us after the individual had left," said Valley Brook Police Sgt. Rick Matheny.

Olivas returned to the auto recycling center two days later on March 29 and the staff stalled him until police arrived. Officers confirmed he had another stolen car with him.

Police said both the vehicles Olivas brought in to Automotive Recycling Services were stolen the night before he tried to sell them. The steering columns on both cars were also damaged.

"If the steering column has been jammed, which means the key has been ripped out and somebody started it or they drove it in, you know we look for that," said Lankford.

Lankford said it is very unusual for someone to crush a car that is still drivable.

Valley Brook Police said a lot of car thieves are targeting broken down and abandoned vehicles on the side of the road. They said when it comes to salvaging cars the laws are loose on vehicles 10 years old and older, like the two Olivas is accused of stealing. Those only require a bill of sale to be salvaged, not a title.

"It's easy, it's a quick buck for them," said Lankford.

However, this time, it did not pay off for Olivas. Valley Brook Police said they have seen an increase in this type of crime over the last month. Officers said they were able to return both stolen vehicles to the rightful owners.