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Alleged chop shop busted
Authorities say more arrests likely

A 39-year-old Forsyth County man has been charged in connection with running what authorities described as an extensive chop shop in west Forsyth.

According to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Charles D. McClendon of 5282 Hyde Road is being held without bond at the Forsyth County Detention Center.

McClendon faces many charges, including owning and operating a chop shop, theft of services and two counts of theft by receiving motor vehicle.

He also has been charged with theft by receiving, forgery and possession of a Schedule IV narcotic, which a sheriff’s report indicated was alprazolam, or a form of Xanax.

Sheriff’s Lt. Col. Gene Moss said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests could be made in connection with the operation.

"We think this will impact a lot of metal and copper theft cases," Moss said.

Sheriff’s Major Dan Jagoe said authorities went to McClendon’s home on Aug. 29 after receiving a report that a stolen car was there and that other vehicles at the site were being taken apart with torches and saws.

He said deputies found the vehicle, apparently stolen earlier that day from Lumpkin County, as well as three others that had been cut up since Aug. 16.

"He was stealing the vehicles, chopping them up and selling the parts," Jagoe said.

He said the operation was being run out of three buildings on the site. It took authorities nearly three days to document and collect evidence.

"It was a very large operation," said Jagoe, adding that the parts were being sold as scrap metal and that vehicle identification numbers had been melted away with torches.

He said authorities seized tools, vehicle parts and other items at the location.