KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Kingsport Police Department (KPD) shared an update on a multi-jurisdictional car theft bust on Monday and said all vehicles found during the investigation have been returned.
According to a release from the department, multiple Tri-Cities residents reached out to the KPD after learning of the bust in hopes that their car might have been recovered. As of Monday, investigators say they have returned all of the recovered vehicles and property to their original owners and cleared over 100 different cases.
The mass return of vehicles began after several local, state and federal investigators cooperated to discover two separate car theft rings operating throughout the Tri-Cities. In all, over $500,000 in vehicles and firearms were recovered after authorities identified eight suspects. Out of those suspects, all but one were minors at the time.
Charges were still pending for the suspects at the time of the release, but investigators expect multiple counts of Motor Vehicle Theft, Auto Burglary, Vandalism and Possession of Stolen Firearms.
The bust’s first announcement also came with a warning from KPD officials, stating that all of the stolen vehicles were unlocked with a key accessible at the time they were stolen. According to the release, the minors went “car-hopping” from door to door and broke into every one that was unlocked.