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Police bust chop shop

Investigators from all of western Nevada County’s law enforcement agencies Wednesday broke up what they described as a “large” chop shop operation in North San Juan.

Stolen vehicles from throughout the state were discovered, authorities said.

At about 8 a.m., detectives from the sheriff’s office, Nevada City and Grass Valley police, and the California Highway Patrol searched a property on the 15000 block of Grizzly Hill Road.



During the search, several vehicles and vehicle parts were found in and outside of a barn on the property. The vehicles were registered in Grass Valley, Sacramento, Pleasanton, Strathmore, North Hollywood and Colorado Springs, Colo.

“We have not, in recent years, come across a chop shop of this size in Nevada County,” Sheriff Keith Royal said.




Evidence of the illegal operation included numerous vehicles being broken down and several bumpers found at the scene, according to a news release. About eight pounds of marijuana bud were also found on the property.

Royal said that as of Wednesday, there was no connection between the chop shop operation and several recent vehicle thefts in Lake Wildwood, although the investigation is ongoing.

Four people were arrested at the scene.

David A. Birge, 38, faces charges of operating a chop shop, vehicle theft, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of stolen property, planting or cultivating marijuana and criminal conspiracy.

Sandra Kay Hunter, 41, is charged with operating a chop shop, planting or cultivating marijuana, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia and criminal conspiracy.

Gregory M. Amberson, 28, was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, possession of controlled substance paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

During the search, 56-year-old Terry H. Miser drove up to the residence and was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm, having a loaded concealed weapon without a permit, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a syringe.


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