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$500,000 in stolen goods found in Texas body shop warehouse

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July 28, 2011 — Police in Tyler, Texas uncovered $500,000 in stolen merchandise Wednesday at a warehouse owned by a local body shop.

Lt. Jeff Maeker, head of the East Texas Auto Task Force said the search uncovered merchandise ranging from tools, clothing, guns and computers that had been burglarized from storage facilities around the area. He said law enforcement suspects the merchandise was being sold for drugs.

Maeker said he doesn’t believe the owner of the property was aware that the warehouse was being used for stolen goods.

“It’s a whole complex of buildings rented out to individual people,” Maeker said. “The owner’s been very cooperative. I think he’s given notice, posted on the warehouse door to those people that they aren’t welcome.”

Maeker East Texas Auto Task Force became involved in the case after working with the Henderson County sheriff and the Texas Department of Public Safety on a string of ATV, trailer and tractor thefts in the area, which he said lead to the raid on the warehouse.

According to local news reports, the building had been under surveillance based on tips of suspicious activity. The raid was conducted by Texas DPS and the East Texas Auto Task Force as well  as investigators from Smith, Anderson, Cherokee and Henderson counties. Arrests are forthcoming, according to reports.

“It started as a case of someone having stolen property in their possession,” Trooper Jean Clark of the Tyler DPS office told a local newspaper. “When investigators were interviewing them, they found that the same names kept popping up in that investigation.”

The case remains under investigation.

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