2 suspects arrested, 3rd wanted for stolen airbag scheme in Houston chop shop, police say

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Wednesday, June 7, 2023
2 arrested in stolen airbag scheme in SE Houston, HPD says
Two suspects were detained after a tip led police to find a risky scheme out of a chop shop in southeast Houston, police say.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two people were detained, and a third person remains on the loose after police raided a "chop shop" in southeast Houston.

On Tuesday, investigators said a witness reported seeing a car leaving a business in the 6900 block of Calhoun Road with what appeared to be airbags.

"The vehicle was followed and stopped. It was determined many of those airbags were stolen," Lt. Tolan Harding with the Houston Police Department's auto theft division said.

Harding said that the airbags came from the body shop where the car was seen leaving.

When police arrived at the scene, two people ran inside the building. Two of them tried to escape through a window but were arrested. A third one ran inside and hid.

Once officers got a warrant to go inside the building, they found several cars that were stripped down for parts. Police said the third suspect was able to escape out the back by punching a hole in the wall.

"Two were pickup trucks in a state of being disassembled. Two more frames pretty much stripped down to the frame. All valuable components and parts have been removed. In the very back was a frame for another vehicle that had been cut in half," Harding said. "It's an economic benefit to steal the vehicles, chop them into parts, and then sell the parts."

According to police, this is part of a scheme that could put anyone at risk.

The two suspects arrested had outstanding warrants, according to police. Now they're talking with the district attorney's office about more charges.

Police were unable to identify the third suspect.