Police investigating possible chop shop after 2 arrested

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) – The Kennett Police Department is investigating a possible chop shop in Kennett.


Dunklin County deputies assisted Kennett police in locating the shop, two stolen vehicles and $5,500 worth of stolen equipment Tuesday.


Kennett officer Alan Campbell arrested 18-year-old Houston McElwrath and a 17-year-old boy on two counts of stealing and first degree tampering. Officers believe the two were running a small-scale chop shop in a shed belonging to McElwrath's grandfather Harold. 


"The two cars were stripped completely," said Campbell.


Officer Campbell found two stolen vehicles in the shed, a 1993 Mercury Grand Marquis and a 1995 Lincoln Town Car that Kennett loan company Tower Loan had recently repossessed.


"A (Tower Loan) employee mentioned that a juvenile had come the day before to try to attempt to purchase the vehicle," said Campbell.


The 17-year-old left Tower Learn without purchasing the car after learning the price of the car from employees Monday, according to the police report.  


Police said the suspects stripped the cars and tried to cover their tracks."The inside door panels were ripped out. The backseat was ripped out. The dash was ripped out," Campbell said.


"They had painted almost the entire (Lincoln) black in an attempt to try to cover it up."


Officer Campbell said police are investigating three more persons of interest. Houston McElwrath is at the Dunklin County Justice Center on $50,000 bond. The 17-year-old is at the Juvenile Detention Center in Bloomfield, Missouri.



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