Monday, December 14, 2009

City Inspector Charged With Auto Theft Scheme

Indianapolis police investigators are accusing a city code enforcement officer of scheming with a local tow truck operator to illegally seize abandoned vehicles and have them shredded for scrap metal at a controversial scrap metal company, OmniSource. Chad Frye, a 38-year-old code enforcement officer hired by the Ballard administration last April has been charged with theft, official misconduct and corrupt business practices according to WRTV's Jack Rinehart. He explains how the scheme was unraveled by city investigators:

Investigators said Frye, who was hired in April 2009, illegally towed and disposed of up to 10 vehicles, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

Indianapolis police Lt. Jeff Duhamell said that when Frye was asked to check on an abandoned vehicle complaint, he would tell authorities the vehicle wasn't there and would call a friend and have the vehicle towed to Two Little Bees Auto Parts, at 505 South Tibbs Ave.

Police said the plot unraveled when Penny Archie contacted the city on Nov. 11 about having her daughter's vehicle towed from the driveway of her west side home.

"They came out and towed it away," Archie said. "We just found out today that the guy that towed it, scrapped it. He stole the motor out of it, and police don't know where the rest of the car is."

The auto parts business stripped car and had them crushed, police said, before they went on to Omnisource to be shredded.

The city's exclusive abandoned vehicle contractor, Last Chance Wrecker, said they had never towed the vehicle.

Frye was arrested after police set up a sting and watched a vehicle being towed to Two Little Bees and followed it to Omnisource.

Police said they recovered two more vehicles that were involved in the same alleged scheme.

Investigators said Frye was cooperating in their investigation and told them that he got $20 to $50 per vehicle.

Duhamell said the investigation is ongoing and that other arrests could be made.

In the meantime, Archie wants the city to compensate her daughter for the cost of her replacement vehicle.

"I think that's pretty dirty when they was supposed to take it to a storage lot where my daughter could have picked up the car there," she said. "They weren't supposed to tear the car up."
You may recall that OmniSource was at the center of a controversy involving dozens of off-duty IMPD officers it employed at its Indianapolis scrap metal yards and charges that those police looked the other way as employees of the company purchased stolen scrap metal. At the same time, some of the those police officers were helping nail scrap metal competitors of OmniSource for purchasing stolen materials. That investigation seemed to die after it was turned over to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office just like virtually every other public corruption case in Marion County over the past seven years. OmniSource is represented by Barnes & Thornburg criminal defense lawyer Larry Mackey, who as this blog exclusively reported, wrote a letter to Carl Brizzi and IMPD Chief Michael Spears urging disciplinary action be taken against IMPD's lead investigator on the case for discussing allegations against OmniSource with reporters. Mackey also serves as finance chairman for Brizzi's campaign committee.

1 comment:

american patriot said...

>>In the meantime, Archie wants the city to compensate her daughter for the cost of her replacement vehicle.

Maybe Ballard could give her one of the unused IMPD cars they leave in country club parking lots...