Alleged Crittenden County 'Chop Shop' Operator to Appear in Court Today

February 5, 2004 - Posted at 3:54 p.m. CDT

MARION, AR - Crittenden County authorities say they found something unexpected when they began surveillance on a Crawfordsville towing service owner suspected of drug trafficking.

Instead, they discovered that 40-year-old Stanley Bedford was allegedly involved in an auto theft and chop shop operation.  Several stolen vehicles were reportedly found on Bedford's property in Crawfordsville.  Authorities believe Bedford was stealing most of the vehicles in Memphis, before towing them back across the river into Arkansas.

"At that point he would dismantle the vehicles...take the engines, transmissions and parts that he could sell to make more money off of it.  And then once he completed stripping the vehicles, then he would sell the remainder," FBI special agent Ellis Young, Jr. told K8 News this afternoon.  Young coordinates the Memphis division of the FBI's auto theft task force.

Bedford has a prior second degree murder conviction in Arkansas.  He is to be arraigned Friday in West Memphis District Court.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)