[UPDATE] Knoxville man arrested in car theft sting

By: Kate Burgess; Sharee Gilbert Email
By: Kate Burgess; Sharee Gilbert Email

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - Kevin Maple's bond is set for 12,000 dollars. When it comes to buying cars for scrap, what are the rules and regulations?

"What the law states is if a car is 10 years or newer you must have a title to sell it for scrap metal," said Tennessee Metal Employee, Chad Davis.

But that's not enough at the Tennessee metals scrap yard.

"We ask for a title, a bill of sale and or a registration in the person who's selling the vehicles name," said Davis.

They also get a picture of the driver's license and a thumb print and put that information into a system which goes to the police.

"On a daily basis I send them a list of vehicles we buy with the year make and model ," said Tennessee Scrap Metal Owner.

So how did Kevin Maples know how old the cars were?

There are numbers located on the side of the door, underneath the windshield and on the tail light, numbers to help you figure out when the car was made.

The owners of Tennessee Scrap Metal say they make sure they check out every car that comes into their yard to make sure everything is legal.

Maples is scheduled to appear in front of a judge on December 15th.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT)--The Knox County Sheriff's Department said Kevin Maples spent months scouting more than two dozen cars in subdivisions in West Knox County and selling them to towing companies.

In July, the Knox County Sheriff's Department picked up on a pattern: Older cars disappearing from quiet neighborhoods in broad daylight.

Department Spokeswoman Martha Dooley said, "He would scout out neighborhoods like this one, where most of the people were going during the day at work and school, and he would pick cars that were over 10 years old."

Investigators said Maples called different towing companies to pick those cars up and sell them for scrap metal, showing paperwork saying he owned them.

Dooley told us it isn't up to the tow truck driver to establish who owns the vehicle.

Investigators said Maples made about $100 per car. They've tied him to 22 thefts so far.

Kevin Tarbell saw the bust go down. He said, "It was a shock to me what was going on in this neighborhood, and I hadn't had any idea what was going on."

So far Maples faces 22 counts of motor vehicle theft. More charges could be in store for him and other people arrested in connection with the case.

Only three of the cars stolen have been recovered. The Sheriff's Department said the rest were probably already crushed.

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