DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - Several Mid-South agencies busted a suspected chop shop with victims in at least three counties in two states.
Steve Cowans was arrested on charges out of DeSoto County and faces additional charges after multiple raids on Thursday. One was in Marshall County, Mississippi where Sheriff Kenny Dickerson showed WMC Action News 5 thousands of dollars in stolen goods.
According to Dickerson, investigators from Memphis Police, Shelby County, DeSoto County, Marshall County, and the FBI have seized almost $500,000 worth of items.
"Windows and stuff from new homes, business construction sites, saws, truck tires, wheels, sea-doos, at least one stolen Harley Davidson motorcycle," Dickerson said.
Cowans runs Keep it Moving Trucking and was arrested on Thursday. Jeffery Hartman says Cowans had only been working next to him in Olive Branch for the past couple of months, and says he was surprised to hear about the allegations.
"Just a lot of trucks parked out here in the driveway and they had some semis that I guess would take loads with but I didn't see a bunch of traffic coming in and out," said Hartman.
Law enforcement agencies that make up the Memphis Cargo Theft Task Force believe Cowans and associates stole trucks and semi trailers, broke them down for parts, and abandoned them. Cowans is also suspected of stealing from construction sites and cashing in.
"They were taking them as well and would put them on the black market," Dickerson said.
Cowans has previous criminal charges and is out on bond. No one at his house wanted to tell his side of the story.
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson believes more arrests and charges are coming against Cowans and others who allegedly helped him chop and set up shop. Investigators say they'll go through the inventory of stolen items and attempt to reach out to owners as the case moves forward.