4 more accused of scrapping stolen cars with St. Paul firm

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 3, 2012 - 11:49 PM

The law doesn't require vehicle titles or a waiting period, which makes it difficult to catch thieves because cars can be crushed quickly.

Deanna Singer

Photo: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, Star Tribune

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Four suspects have been charged with selling stolen cars for scrap, months after authorities first cracked down on a rash of similar crimes.

St. Paul police and the Ramsey County attorney's office announced last August that several suspects were charged with stealing more than 50 cars, most of them scrapped at Metro Metals in St. Paul.

Charges filed this week in Ramsey County District Court involve the same scrap yard.

The industry needs to do more to prevent such incidents, County Attorney John Choi said Friday.

"What we're seeing now is that oftentimes, we have a car ... that's being crushed in a matter of minutes," Choi said.

The law doesn't require a waiting period or title before a vehicle is scrapped.

Metro Metals attorney Craig Greenberg said the company is meeting legal requirements and more. The company hires off-duty police officers to identify stolen cars and maintains video, photographic and paper evidence that have been turned over to authorities, he said.

"The number of cars that have come through there that have ended up stolen have been far less than one percent," Greenberg said.

In many cases, cars were crushed the same day they were towed in because they had not yet been reported stolen. However, many of them had just been stolen.

Police spokesman Howie Padilla said Metro Metals is not being investigated.

Choi said he hopes a bill at the state Legislature will improve standards. It would require a title for cars, and a 15-day holding period for those without titles.

Most recent charges

Deanne L. Singer, 26, of Newport, is charged with 12 counts of motor vehicle theft for allegedly towing six cars, according to charges.

Her husband, Gregory L. Green, 31, is charged with two counts of motor vehicle theft for allegedly towing one stolen car.

According to the charges, Singer and Green started an account with Metro Metals in November and regularly towed in cars. Green allegedly towed a car to Metro Metals on Nov. 17 that had been reported stolen on Sept. 11.

Mickel E. Moore, 49, of Minneapolis is charged with four counts of motor vehicle theft. An off-duty officer at Metro Metals checked the license plate of a car Moore towed and found that it was stolen.

Moore has been previously charged with selling 17 stolen cars for scrap.

Paul J. Mackey, 47, of Forest Lake is charged with two counts of motor vehicle theft for allegedly towing cars to Metro Metals in November, according to a criminal complaint.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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