Nearly $500K in high-end vehicles found when Harris Co. investigators moved in on alleged chop shop

Jessica Willey Image
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
$170,000 Corvette recovered in suspected 'chop shop' bust
Authorities charged Landon Wayne Swonke with aggregate theft in connection to an alleged chop shop ring inside Stampede Diesel auto shop.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 25-year-old man was arrested on Friday connected to a suspected "chop shop" where authorities found a $170,000 Corvette, records state.

Landon Wayne Swonke was charged with aggregate theft of at least $300,000. He is free from jail on a $25,000 bond.

According to court records, officers observed Swonke leave Stampede Diesel, an auto repair shop at 11354 W. Jones Road, in a stolen vehicle. He was taken into custody.

After obtaining a search warrant, officers entered and found six vehicles inside, three of which were stolen, records state.

The bust was a multi-agency operation involving the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Homeland Security Investigations.

HCSO said nearly $500,000 in cars were recovered, including Dodge Chargers, a Cadillac Escalade, and a $170,000 Corvette.

Surveillance video from a neighboring business shared with ABC13 shows officers approaching the business with guns drawn and later driving the cars out of the garage.

Investigators tell ABC13 they believe crooks would steal cars and then take them to Swonke's business.

Swonke's attorney, Gianpaolo "GP" Macerola, declined to comment. His next court hearing is March 19.

SEE ALSO: 23 people arrested, 2 still at large in connection to auto theft ring, Houston police say

Twenty-five people are facing criminal charges after Houston police busted an auto theft ring. The suspects were said to have been targeting high-end vehicles in downtown, near the Galleria, and The Heights.

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