Police in Lexington County, South Carolina, have arrested 45-year old mechanic Vernon Edward Gardner for allegedly operating a chop-shop right in the midst of his legitimate auto repair business. It all started several weeks ago when surveillance cameras from Randy Marion Chevrolet, in Lexington, South Carolina captured footage of a man breaking into the dealership and making off with a 2013 Camaro valued at over $58,000. That price tag tells us the car was either a new ZL1, or the most highly optioned SS known to man.
According to a report in the Charlotte Observer, it’s now known that the man in the video was Gardner. However, the surveillance footage wasn’t actually what got him busted. According to Lexington’s WLTX, firefighters were called when Gardner started burning car parts in a pit outside his shop. Something seemed awry to the keen-eyed firefighters who arrived on the scene, and they promptly informed the police of Gardner’s suspicious activity.
When police raided Gardner’s shop they found the ZL1 along with several other recently stolen Corvettes and Camaros valuing over $300,000, along with miscellaneous parts from new cars strewn throughout the premises. Once in custody, Gardner admitted to stealing and parting out eight other cars with a reported total value of around $600,000.
Garner is being held in the Lexington County Detention Center on counts of breaking and entering, possessing stolen property, and operating a chop-shop. Check out WLTX’s video report here.