Elbert Sheriff’s Office raids alleged chop shop; suspected operator faces felony charges

Elbert County Sheriff Melvin Andrews has announced the arrest of a 38-year-old Athens resident on felony charges of owning, operating or conducting a “chop shop” in Elbert County.
Craig Frank Adams was arrested by sheriff’s officers Wednesday evening. In addition to the chop shop charge, Adams is charged with one felony count of theft by receiving stolen property, 19 counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and felony probation violation.
The arrest came after a lengthy investigation by sheriff’s officers after which Adams was suspected of being involved in illegal activities at two locations in Elbert County. The alleged chop shop operation is located on a 15-acre site on Plantation Road. In a raid on the location Wednesday, officers discovered hundreds of disassembled vehicles, including trucks, buses and heavy equipment, and thousands of diesel auto parts throughout the property.
As a result of a previous guilty plea by Adams on chop shop charges, a condition of which he was to have no more involvement in the sales of auto parts, sheriff’s officers seized all property at the Plantation Road site – valued at several million dollars – on Wednesday, pending a forfeiture asset hearing.
At a separate site on Thirteen Forks Road, officers found a number of stolen items connected to Adams, as well as the 19 guns determined to be in his possession.
After the property was seized and warrants were taken for his arrest on Wednesday, Adams turned himself in to Athens-Clarke County authorities just after 6 p.m. He was transported to Elbert County and booked into the Elbert County Detention Center after 10 p.m. Wednesday. He was in jail Thursday awaiting a bond hearing.
The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office received assistance in the investigation from the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s Criminal Investigations Unit, the Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, the Comer Police Department, the Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Sheriff Andrews said the investigation is continuing.

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