WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Archer County Sheriff’s Office may have broken up a large-scale stolen vehicle and parts operation, or chop shop, south of Lake Wichita.
Three people have been charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, theft over $30,000:
Zed Chavis, 43, Kelsie Watson, 26, Charles Knox, 31.
Bonds were set at $100,000.
The investigation began when a man reported his 2014 Silverado pickup was stolen and said someone told him it was at the end of Newsome Road and that same person said Watson had tried to sell him the truck. The owner told the sheriff’s office he drove by and saw it parked in front of the house on Newsome.
Deputies and a constable went to the location and took positions around it to make sure no one left.
They said they saw Chavis outside a shop behind the house working on a ford pickup and saw the Silverado pickup there, partially sanded down to the primer.
One asked Chavis what he was doing and he said he was changing the seats out on his truck.
He said the Silverado belonged to Knox who was in the shop on the east side of the property.
Deputies said they found Knox and Watson in the shop and Watson said she was Knox’s girlfriend.
They said a motorcycle with missing pieces was inside the shop and it later came back as a stolen 2019 Suzuki.
The Silverado was confirmed as the man’s stolen truck, and the Tennessee license plates on it were also listed as stolen.
Deputies said Chavis said he could not give them consent to search the property because it belonged to his mother.
They said the 71-year-old woman also declined to give consent, so one deputy went to get a search warrant while the others remained with the suspects.
Sheriff Jack Curd and Lieutenant Jay Franklin arrived, and deputies were advised to detain everyone on the property.
A 74-year-old woman inside the two-story house was not detained because of poor health, and deputies said she went back to sleep on a couch.
When the warrant arrived, the search uncovered more stolen vehicles, multiple keys, paint and other evidence leading deputies to believe the theft operation had been in operation a lengthy period.
Also, a 2017 Toyota Tundra was found cut into pieces on a black trailer on another part of the property. The seats from that vehicle were the ones deputies said Chavis was putting in the Ford.