Dayton City Commission this week honored two city police detectives for breaking up a car theft group responsible for dozens of crimes.
Kenneth A. Brown, 47, of Trotwood, was convicted on federal charges of conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen vehicles. He began a three-year sentence at Allenwood federal prison in Pennsylvania this summer. Accomplice Anthony L. Miles, 31, was convicted on the conspiracy charge and sentenced to three years of probation. Two of their co-conspirators cooperated with police.
Detective Jeff Watkins first worked with Trotwood police to identify Brown as a suspect, according to Dayton Deputy Police Chief Robert Chabali. In March of 2012, Watkins found Brown parking three freshly stolen automobiles on Hollencamp Avenue, and recovered several receipts to River Metal Recycling in Newport, Ky., in Brown’s belongings.
Chabali said Watkins and detective Jason Tipton learned that Brown had sold 53 vehicles to that business in a three-month span, receiving more than $26,000 for the scrap metal, as the cars were crushed. Dayton detectives determined that at least 34 of those vehicles had been stolen.
Chabali said Dayton police worked with the FBI to interview owners of dozens of the stolen vehicles and review thousands of transaction records at multiple scrap yards, leading to the conviction of Brown as well as Miles, who had helped Brown transport and sell the vehicles.
Dayton police said as a result of the investigation, local scrap yards were warned about the laws governing scrap vehicle sales. Dayton also contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to point out a difference in Kentucky law that allows inoperable “hulk vehicles” to be sold without tendering a valid title. Police said Brown intentionally damaged the vehicles he sold so they would qualify.
Dayton City Commissioners Matt Joseph and Joey Williams congratulated the detectives, saying it was key the way Dayton police worked with other local and federal agencies to keep the case moving when it became clear that it went well beyond city boundaries.