Investigators looking for three alleged car thieves

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, Oct. 11, 2007

AIKEN CTY, S.C.--- Aiken County Investigators are looking for 3 men who apparently stole 5 cars and vans from a Beech Island man between October 4th and 8th.

All of the vehicles stolen are more than 10 years old, according to investigators.

The three suspects are: 42 year old William Sanders, 40 year old Tony Johnson and 28 year old Timothy Hall. They are accused of stealing the vehicles from a home is Beech Island and taking them to the CMC Recycling Center in North Augusta. The Sheriff's Department says the three made more than $1200.

The catch -- they are doing this without being asked to show a title. One salvage yard is making sure these men -- or anyone else -- isn't getting away with the loot.

"Anytime anyone calls us with a vehicle for sale, they got to present us with a title. If they don't have ownership then we're not interested," says Donald Graves, the owner of Graves Salvage.

South Carolina law does require recycling centers to record the name, address and phone number of the person who they bought the vehicle from. Along with the make, model and vehicle ID number. Investigators have found some businesses do not keep accurate records and in some cases, no records at all.

"As long as there is a title involved that means we are in the clear," says Graves.

And, the demolisher must keep complete, correct records of all cars purchased or received.

Graves gets call "just about everyday" from people wanting to sell him their car. Wednesday morning, someone wanted to sell Graves a 1997 Infinity I-30.

"One of our first questions is - do you have a title for the car?" says Graves.

And this person did not have a title.

Investigators say Bruce Bradley who the cars and vans were stolen from, found the vehicles at the CMC Recycling Center himself. He's taken cars to this center in the past and decided to check there once his cars were missing. We're told from investigators that CMC does a better job keeping records than other recyclers in the area.

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