Six Arrested in HPD Chop Shop Bust

One of six suspects arrested in Friday's chop shop bust in Pearl City.
One of six suspects arrested in Friday's chop shop bust in Pearl City.

PEARL CITY (KHNL) -- Honolulu police arrested four men and two women during a raid at a suspected chop shop in Pearl City Friday.

KHNL News 8's Minna Sugimoto was the only crime reporter at the scene.

A woman broke down in tears as an officer escorted her to a squad car. She was one of six people handcuffed during a raid at a suspected chop shop.

Police say they discovered the operation when the Pearl City Crime Reduction Unit earlier arrested a fugitive at the property.

"Upon them arresting the fugitive, stolen vehicles were discovered on the premises," H.P.D. Auto Theft Detective Thomas Santos said. "And it was discovered that these stolen vehicles were in the process of being stripped and chopped up."

Armed with a search warrant, officers from H.P.D.'s Auto Theft Detail stormed the property. It's located in a remote area behind Leeward Community College.

"There's no real major thoroughfares coming in this area," Santos said. "It was very hidden."

But through the course of a month-long investigation,"We discovered approximately seven stolen vehicles and property coming from stolen vehicles, and also narcotics to include crystal methamphetamine and marijuana," Santos said.

The property owner did not want to appear on camera, but did say many homeless people stay in their cars along this roadway.

He decided to let some of them onto the property, where he provided water, electricity and access to a bathroom. He says he didn't realize any criminal activity was taking place.

Police say the public can help in the battle against car thieves.

"If they suspect a chop shop, they can call Crimestoppers," Santos said. "And Crimestoppers will forward the tip to Auto Theft Detail."