Cops: Stolen school van leads officers to Clayton County ‘chop shop’

Clayton County police said a stolen van led officers to a "chop shop" being run out of a vacant building owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

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Clayton County police said a stolen van led officers to a "chop shop" being run out of a vacant building owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

A stolen van belonging to the Clayton County Schools police led officers to a suspected “chop shop” being run out of a vacant state-owned building near Forest Park, authorities said Friday.

Clayton County officers saw the white van near Jonesboro and Battle Creek roads, police department spokesperson Officer Johnny Carroll said. They followed the stolen van but ended up losing sight of it.

It was later spotted along Kennedy Drive at a vacant building owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation, authorities said.

Two people were detained at the scene, and officers obtained a search warrant for the property. That led to the discovery of a second vehicle, two utility trailers and various stolen car parts, according to police.

Investigators also said it appeared the two people had been “camping out in this building for some time” after police found rooms where they apparently slept.

The suspects, whose names were not released, are charged with theft by receiving and other related offenses, according to police. The department said GDOT officials were notified of the discovery Friday morning and have since secured the vacant building.

It’s not clear where the van was stolen or how long it had been missing.

In a statement, school district spokesperson Ronald Jones-Shields said: “Clayton County Public Schools is aware that a vehicle belonging to the school district has been located by local authorities. While the district is currently investigating how the vehicle was stolen from one of our properties, we extend our great appreciation to the officers who recovered the vehicle and thank them for keeping our community safe. As this is an ongoing investigation, no further information can be shared at this time.”

Clayton police said the investigation is ongoing.

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