Back in July, my colleague Lora Pabst reported how a Ford truck belonging to a Fridley couple ended up in the crusher before they could even report it stolen. The company that crushed the car was Metro Metals, a scrap auto recycling plant in St. Paul., but the business's lawyer told Pabst at the time that the scrapyard acted in good faith. "The last thing Metro wants to do is buy a stolen vehicle," the lawyer, Craig Greenberg, said.

It turns out that the 1989 Ford truck was not the only stolen vehicle purchased by Metro Metals for scrap. As my colleagues Chao Xiong and Daarel Burnette IIĀ reported this week, the Ramsey County attorney charged 10 suspects with stealing more than 50 cars between January and June and selling them to recycling yards. Many of the vehicles ended up at Metro Metals, but no one with the company has been charged. In fact, Greenberg said, Metro Metals helped crack the case by keeping records of each sale and cooperating with investigators.

"If someone steals a vehicle and takes it to an out-of-the-way scrap yard, they're never going to get traced," Greenberg told the Star Tribune. "If they take it to Metro Metals, the entire transaction is going to be fully documented."

Yet, as Pabst pointed out in July, there's no waiting period before that car is crushed. So by the time the car's owner finds out it's missing, the vehicle has already turned into "a mangled heap."