On 8-19-2020, Atlanta Police officers received a call from a North Carolina resident who advised he had located his stolen car in Atlanta. The man advised his vehicle had been stolen in April of this year and he found it for sale on social media at College Park Customs, located at 1057 Ridge Avenue. Officers went to the location and found a similar vehicle parked there. Initial inspection of the vehicle indicated this may not be the same vehicle as the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the dashboard did not match. Further inspection showed the VIN to be fraudulent and officers were able to confirm this was indeed the stolen car. Officers alerted members of APD’s Auto Crimes Enforcement unit who came to the scene and met with the business owner, Mr. Todderick Ponder. Mr. Ponder allowed officers to look through the business for other stolen items and officers located 4 stolen engines and a 2016 Mercedes Maybach that had a fraudulent VIN. Officers were able to confirm the Maybach had been stolen in Douglas County on August 25, 2020. Officers observed indications of additional vehicles with fraudulent VINs and began a more in-depth investigation into the location.
On 9-25-2020, officers returned to the location with a search warrant for the property and arrest warrants for Mr. Ponder for owning, operating, or conducting a chop shop, possession of a vehicle with an altered VIN, and 4 counts of theft by receiving stolen property. A search of the property uncovered an additional 8 stolen engines and 4 stolen vehicles. One of the vehicles had been stolen from Little Rock Arkansas in 2017 and another had been stolen inside Atlanta, 17 years ago. It appears this location was altering VINs on stolen vehicles, allowing the vehicle to be titled under the false VIN and eventually sold. It also appears the location was obtaining stolen General Motors LS motors to place in other vehicles.
In total, officers recovered 12 stolen engines and 6 stolen vehicles.
Atlanta is a city full of automotive enthusiasts, many of whom invest a significant amount of time and money into their vehicles. To have a criminal enterprise focused on stealing those sought after vehicles and parts from the owners who work so hard for them is unacceptable. We are extremely proud of the work our Auto Crimes Enforcement unit and other investigators put into this investigation. We are pleased to see another illegal operation shut down. We remind our community that if you see suspicious behavior or have tips regarding a crime, that you call 911, or contact Crime Stoppers Atlanta at (404) 577-TIPS (8477) where you can provide information anonymously.