Suwannee County authorities bust vehicle theft operation

The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has announced the arrest of two men who investigators say were operating a stolen vehicle “chop shop.” 

According to an SCSO Facebook post, the office was assisting the Madison County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the theft of a pickup truck and trailer when investigators discovered the operation Tuesday. After locating the missing truck and trailer near Dowling Park west of Live Oak, deputies contacted the residents of the house, 44-year-old Miguel Cruz and 49-year-old Riccy Ramos-Hernandez. 

“[Investigators] determined that the pair had numerous stolen vehicles on the property, and were operating a stolen vehicle ‘chop shop,’ based upon the numerous vehicle parts that were scattered throughout the property, to include the cut-up frame of a Peterbilt semi-truck,” the post said. 

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SCSO investigators not only recovered the truck and trailer, which was hauling a Kawasaki Mule UTV, but they also recovered a 2015 Mercedes Benz (allegedly stolen from South Florida), a 2015 Dodge truck (allegedly stolen from Columbia County), a 2020 Freightliner bucket truck (allegedly stolen from South Florida), 2 flat-bed trailers, 1 aluminum horse trailer (allegedly stolen from Gadsen County), and a Peterbilt semi-truck (allegedly stolen from Columbia County).

The SCSO also said Cruz, a convicted felon, had a 12-gauge shotgun.

Both men were arrested on charges of grand theft ($20,000-$100,000) and operating a chop shop. Cruz was also charged with Possession of Firearm/Ammo by a convicted felon and possession of firearm during the commission of a felony.

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