Detectives with the Fresno H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) Task Force have booked 34 year old Omar Soto-Lopez and 41 year old Pascual Rodriguez into the Fresno County Jail. Both men face charges of operating a chop shop, vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.
On April 14, 2017, Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a home on the 12000 block of W. Central Ave. in Kerman. They responded to escort a citizen onto the property so they could pick up some of their belongings. The citizen had previous problems with the people living at this location. While there, deputies contacted Pascual Rodriguez, who works on vehicles at the property. Deputies asked Rodriguez to look inside the shop and he agreed. Deputies found a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder. They conducted a records check on the SUV and discovered it was reported stolen from Mendota earlier this month. Rodriguez was in the process of painting the vehicle red, which was originally white. Deputies detained Rodriguez and requested members of H.E.A.T. respond to take over the investigation.
Detectives with H.E.A.T. arrived and began to search the property. They found a stolen 2013 Honda TRX420 ATV and a 2006 Pace America trailer. Both had been repainted. During the investigation, Omar Soto-Lopez arrived at the home. Detectives determined he was also involved in operating this chop shop, so he was detained.
Also at this location, detectives seized five guns, which included a sawed off shotgun, two rifles, two handguns, ammunition and a 200 round drum magazine. The suspects may face additional charges for possessing these items.
If you have additional information about the suspects in this case, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at (559) 600-3111 or call Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP (7867). You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.
***HEAT is comprised of members from the California Highway Patrol, Fresno County Sheriff's Office, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and Clovis Police Department.