Norfolk port agents stop chop shop

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Car parts intercepted by customs officials at the Norfolk port last month. (Photo Courtesy Department of Homeland Security)
Car parts intercepted by customs officials at the Norfolk port last month. (Photo Courtesy Department of Homeland Security)

Customs officials at the Port of Norfolk seized $85,000 worth of stolen cars and car parts bound for Jordan on Sept. 13, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday.

Officers with Customs and Border Protection randomly searched an export shipping container from Chicago, according to a release. Inside, they found an assortment of car parts and partial vehicles, including the engine from a 2015 Infinity and the shell of a 2007 Cadillac Escalade, which had no engine or transmission, according to CPB Public Affairs Liaison Louis Rossero.

“It was a bit unusual,” Rossero said in a phone interview.

Customs officers do run across stolen cars, but a shipment of partial cars and car parts is not the norm, Rossero said.

“This has been the first one in a while,” he added.

The stolen parts came from Illinois and Indiana, the release said. Working with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, customs officers identified other suspect cars and parts. Collectively, they seized 11 partial vehicles that had been confirmed as stolen.

Virginia State Police will take control of the seized parts, according to the release.

After this story was published, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a clarification saying the car parts were seized on Sept. 13, not Aug. 13. The story has been updated to reflect that clarification. 

 

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Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME.com, nationalgeographic.com and Talking Points Memo. Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME.com, nationalgeographic.com and Talking Points Memo. Her recent book, Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mark Lynton History Prize. Her first book, The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy, won the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.