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Police find chop shop in Suwanee

SUWANEE -- Police have accused a Suwanee man of operating a chop shop in his home garage.

An anonymous 911 caller reported stolen vehicles, guns and drug activity Wednesday at a home on Hunt River Way, near Taylor Road.

Responding police first questioned the home's owner, Toby Bell, 30, who denied any wrongdoing on the premises.

Police asked Bell, whose hand was bandaged from a New Year's Eve shooting, about a 1992 Saturn S.W.2 parked in his garage. Bell told police the car belonged to a tenant, James Turner, 39, who in turn said the car was owned by a "Mexican guy" who'd dropped the car off earlier and walked away, according to a police report.

"Turner could provide no physical description of the male, or clothing description," an officer wrote.

The men granted police access to the home, the report says, wherein they found several people, some behind locked doors. Investigators would later make four arrests.

A database search found the Saturn had been stolen the previous day from a Lawrenceville used car lot, the report says. Police also found the hood of a 2009 Toyota Matrix that had been stolen in Suwanee. The Toyota was later found stripped, said Gwinnett police spokesman Det. J. L. Smith.

Police arrested Bell on two counts of theft by receiving and owning or operating a chop shop. Turner, his tenant, is jailed on theft by receiving charges.

An Alpharetta woman inside the home, Sarah Palmer, 25, was arrested on drug charges, while a Duluth man, Michael Wells, 25, was held on warrants for violating probation in another jurisdiction.

Along with the hot vehicle and hood, police found a stolen gun and 25 grams of methamphetamine, Smith said.

"(An) investigation into several other items located inside the residence is ongoing," he said.

All suspects remained at the Gwinnett County Jail late Friday.