A Vilonia man is the first to recover his stolen ATV from the "chop shops" discovered last week by deputies from the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office.
Mark Clements of Vilonia picked up his four-wheeler from deputies Monday afternoon. The vehicle was one of nine four-wheelers and four motorcycles discovered still intact, though the person who stole the vehicle had cut wires and disabled the vehicle.
Clements said the four-wheeler had been missing about two weeks. It was stored in a barn in El Paso.
"It was locked in reverse," Clements said. "They cut or pulled wires out of the plug. It is not getting any fire to it, but I am glad to have it back."
Clements estimated the value of the vehicle at $2,500 to $3,000.
"There are not a lot of hours on it. We ride it on a logging road," he said.
He discovered the four-wheeler missing when he and his daughter went to ride and found it was not in the barn where it was last seen. Clements said he originally thought his friend was on the vehicle but then discovered his friend at home.
"He said, ‘I thought you had come and gotten it,’" Clements said.
Lt. Matt Rice of the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office said although Clements did not have the VIN number to the vehicle, he identified distinguishing characteristics of the ATV such as a broken brake light and replaced rivets. Clements also had a key to the vehicle.
Rice said if a vehicle was reported missing with a VIN number, it could be matched one of the recovered vehicles. If a VIN number was not included on a report and a person does not have the VIN information for their vehicle, Rice said the person has two options to aid in recovery. Rice said if the person has had insurance on the ATV, the VIN information would be included in the policy. If the vehicle was assessed, the VIN number would be on file with the assessor’s office. This was the case with Clements vehicle.
Rice said deputies would try to match up the recovered ATVs with those reported stolen. If the recovered vehicles are not matched to those reported stolen, Rice said the vehicles could be sold at auction.
"We try really hard to find the owners. If we can’t find the owners, we will auction them, but we will probably sit on these for a couple of years," Rice said.
In addition to the vehicles found intact, Rice said a trailer load of parts and frames were also found. He said machines were stripped to the bare frame.
Pointing to the recovered vehicles, he said, "These were probably ordered to be chopped."