Sugar Hill man accused of running watercraft chop shop

SUGAR HILL -- Police believe a Sugar Hill man was operating a jet ski chop shop, knowingly buying stolen watercraft and switching their identification numbers.

Dane Sweatman, 25, was arrested Thursday and initially charged with operation of a chop shop and four counts of theft by receiving, jail records show. A Gwinnett County police report, though, said there was probable cause for additional charges of altered or removed VIN (11 counts), marijuana possession, steroid possession and two more counts of theft by receiving.

According to police, officers were drawn to the alleged operation last week by a report of a stolen "dump trailer" out of Hall County. When authorities arrived at Sweatman's residence on Roosevelt Circle in Sugar Hill, they reportedly found the trailer in question -- along with several more and multiple personal watercraft.

A search warrant was executed the next day. A total of 11 trailers and watercraft had altered or removed VIN plates and six were stolen, police said.

Sweatman was arrested and allegedly confessed.

"During the interview he admitted to knowing the trailers and watercraft were stolen when he purchased them ... He admitted to removing legit VINs from old, junked watercraft and placing the VINs onto stolen watercraft," according to a report. "He then registered them in what looked like a legitimate manner."

Sweatman then attempted to sell the vehicles, police said.

Authorities also said they located marijuana and steroids inside a safe at Sweatman's home.