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Stolen truck leads Orange Co. investigators to chop shop

Updated:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Deputies said one stolen truck in south Orange County led to them solving at least seven investigations after it uncovered cars, boats and trailers stolen months earlier.

Deputies a man renting a large piece of property on 4th Street was running a chop shop operation.

When someone stole a truck from the lot of V and B Auto, employee Victor Marte said they couldn't have picked a worse vehicle. He said the truck's tracking device quickly gave away its location.

"It was nearby, next to us," said Marte.

Marte said his stolen truck was just 3 miles away.

Car lot employees did their own detective work and followed the GPS to a mobile home and then waited for deputies to arrive.

Deputies said what those car lot employees couldn't see was that the entire back yard of the mobile home was being used as a chop shop. Their truck was among the seven stolen vehicles found on the property.

Most had the VIN numbers removed.

"They changed the doors with different VIN numbers. They took every sticker. It was pretty messed up," said Marte, describing his truck.

Investigators said Eric Matos-Martinez was renting the property, but wasn't there when deputies arrived. They said they had information he was planning to flee to Puerto Rico, but they were able to track him down and arrest him before he could leave,

The vehicles were removed from the property and are in the process of being returned to their owners.