Atlanta police believe they have uncovered a new national car theft trend. Investigators have charged two men with altering the VIN numbers of vehicles.
Police say Newell Recycling in Conyers was instrumental in cracking the case. Calls from an employee led them to discover what they believe is a new car theft trend.
Atlanta Police Major Darryl Tolleson says 37-year-old Jonathan Arnold and 22-year-old Donell Davis were stealing VIN numbers from scrap yards.
"They would take that VIN number from a vehicle that was in the same or similar description of the vehicle that they had stolen that was sitting at a designated place, put that VIN number on that vehicle and then turn that vehicle to be recycled for profit," Tolleson said.
The case is a joint investigation between Atlanta police and the Rockdale Sheriff's Office.
Detective Aaron Zorn says they believe Arnold and Davis were stealing more than just VIN numbers.
"They were using a tow truck. Some of the vehicles we recovered, the columns weren't punched so it would lead us to believe they were actually stealing the vehicles," Zorn said.
Officials at Newell recycling say they were happy to cooperate with investigators in the case.
"It has hurt a number of businesses. Not only the individual suffers…but the insurance company has to pay claims on these cars. So, yes we want the bad actors off the streets," said Frank Goulding, the vice president of marketing at Newell Recycling.
Police say Jonathan Arnold is in custody, but his alleged accomplice Donell Davis is still at large. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call 911.