On May 12, 2013, Polk County Sheriff's deputies arrested a Mulberry man and charged him with multiple charges related to running a chop shop on his 10-acre property.
According to the affidavits, the investigation began on Saturday, May 11, 2013, when deputies responded to the home of 30-year-old Gary Williams (DOB 3/25/1983) at 4195 Hillgrade Road in Mulberry, after they received information that Williams may be operating a chop shop there.
After an extensive search of the property, deputies discovered several stolen pieces of heavy equipment, trailers, trucks, and vehicle components, that were reported stolen to the following law enforcement agencies:
- Lakeland Police Department
- Bartow Police Department
- Plant City Police Department
- Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
According to interviews with Williams' family members, Williams claims he purchases vehicles and parts to salvage out. Detectives located evidence that Williams is selling stolen vehicle parts on Craigslist.
The investigation is ongoing.
Williams was taken into custody and booked into the Polk County Jail for the following 68 charges:
- one count Dealing in Stolen Property (F-1)
- one count Possession of Burglary Tools WIT Use (F-3)
- one count Own/Operate a Chop Shop (F-3)
- one count Criminal Conspiracy (F-2)
- one count Failure to Comply with Environmental Regulations
- 7 counts Tampering with VIN (F-1)
- 18 counts Burglary of a Conveyance (F-3)
- 19 counts Possession /Sale of Motor Vehicle with Altered VIN (F-3)
- 21 counts Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle (F-3)
He has been placed on a Nebbia hold in jail (meaning he cannot post bond unless he can prove that the money is coming from a legitimate, non-criminal source).