Chop shop means 4 years

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Martin's sentencing had been continued six times.

SALEM - Robert L. Martin was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with a chop shop operation when he appeared Tuesday before Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge John M. Durkin.

Martin, of 8688 Salem-Unity Road and owner of Yukon Construction in Salem, pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property in March.

Durkin also ordered Martin, 47, to make restitution to his victims in the amount of $150,808 while a truck and trailer and equipment with the Vehicle Identification Numbers removed, and could not be identified, were forfeited to law enforcement along with vehicles used to facilitate the thefts, a court official said, adding those were considered crime tools or contraband.

Receiving stolen property is a third-degree felony when the value of the property is in excess of $150,000. Martin faced one to five years for each count and fines up to $10,000 on each count.

According to court records, Martin was charged with four counts of receiving stolen property following an investigation by several area law enforcement agencies, including the Salem police, in September 2012.

The investigation was launched when Cortland police checked into what appeared to be a civil complaint for abandoned equipment on a job site.

A check of vehicle numbers revealed stolen equipment from different locations in Northeast Ohio.

The highway patrol, Goshen police and Salem police joined the investigation while the National Insurance Crime Bureau launched its own investigation.

Search warrants on Martin's property on Salem-Valley Road and on state Route 14 near state Route 165, both in Goshen Township, resulted in the recovery of $50,000 in stolen construction equipment.

The state Route 14 property was operating as a commercial chop shop where stolen semi-trailers (aluminum) and their loads were being disassembled for scrap.

An estimated $1.5 million in additional stolen construction equipment and commercial tractor trailers was also recovered.

Salem police recovered a $50,000 front-end loader that Martin stole in Akron and sold to a local business.