COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Three people have been arrested following a multi-agency investigation into a local operation that allegedly produced and altered Vehicle Identification Numbers.
Corderal Adravius Harris, 32, Erica Leenona Rankin, 34, and Jonathan Steve Routier, 31, are facing charges in connection to the “chop shop” operation.
The allegation is they put false VIN numbers on stolen vehicles. Then those vehicles were allegedly re-titled with false documents and resold.
A joint investigation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency on Aug. 10, 2022, lead to five search warrants served at five separate locations in Columbus; Phenix City; Fort Mitchell, Ala.; and Marion County, Ga.
Columbus Police and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency spent almost six hours at an automotive body shop on Veterans Parkway Wednesday.
Two locations in Columbus were searched during Wednesday operation, the 600 block of Veteran’s Parkway and a single-family residence in the 6500 block of Forrest Road. Several vehicles reported stolen were recovered from both Columbus locations.
More than a dozen officers were on the Veterans Parkway property on Wednesday.
Officers were working inside the building and in the areas around it. They were also photographing cars on the lot. They were seen looking at the area of the cars near the driver’s door which typically includes the vehicle identification number is located.
Harris has been charged with Possessing Altered Vehicle Identification.
Rankin has been charged with Theft by Receiving Stolen Property (Felony), Theft by Receiving Stolen Property from Another State, Possession of Altered Vehicle Identification, Possession of Firearm During the Commission of Crime, and Owning, Operating, or Conducting a Chop Shop.
Routier has been charged with Theft by Receiving Stolen Property (Felony), Theft by Receiving Stolen Property from Another State, Possession of Altered Vehicle Identification, Possession of Firearm During the Commission of Crime, Owning, Operating, or Conducting a Chop Shop.
Rankin and Routier appeared in front of Recorder’s Court Judge Julius Hunter Friday afternoon. Harris waived his appearance.
Hunter set bond for Harris at $2,500. Bond for Rankin was set at $12,500, $2,500 per count. Bond was set for Routier at $25,000 or $5,000 per count.