Two Finley Men Arrested In Chop Shop Investigation - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Two Finley Men Arrested In Chop Shop Investigation

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FINLEY, WA- A 20-year-old Finley man is in jail after Benton County Sheriff's Deputies found seven stolen cars on a property where he lived.

This property has a house, a trailer and a shop on the 23000 Block of South Finley Road. What started as a search for a wanted man, quickly turned into a chop shop investigation.

"About seven cars here that were maxed out and then sitting here ready for parts and stuff," explained Nina, who said she lives on this lot.

Seven cars, three whole, four in pieces. Nina said she lives in the trailer on this Finley property and knew nothing about the stolen cars until Sheriff's Deputies showed up last week.

"A subsequent search warrant to all of that, led to a storage unit. When we arrived at that location, we opened up the storage unit and more vehicle parts from other stolen vehicles were recovered at that location," explained Sgt. Erik Magnuson with the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies arrested 20-year-old James Steelman for outstanding warrants, he also had meth on him. Then, officers found 25-year-old Joshua Zarbok hiding in the attic, he also had outstanding warrants.

When NBC Right Now asked Nina if she knew the people who were arrested she said, "No, no, no. I stay in my trailer pretty much all the time." Later when asked a similar question, she said, "I knew maybe a couple of them, but that was only to say hi."

NBC Right Now spoke with the homeowners on the phone Tuesday afternoon, they say Nina and others on the property have already been arrested for trespassing, and keep coming back.

Meanwhile, investigators have a lot of work ahead of them.

"It didn't appear that there was any one specific type of vehicle being targeted. But there were various ones, there was a Honda, an older model Honda there. There was a newer model mini van, there was a Chrysler 300. So there was no set pattern to what they were taking," said Sgt. Magnuson.

Investigators have since found a stolen computer, more drugs and vehicle parts on this property. They have called in a "VIN" number specialist to identify parts that are unrecognizable.


BENTON COUNTY, WA - Benton County Sheriff deputies say several people were arrested on February 11th for multiple charges including possession of stolen vehicle parts and possession of meth.

Deputies say they went to 23611 S. Finley Road looking for a wanted person while there, deputies found a stolen vehicle in the driveway. The deputies started checking the license plates of other vehicles in the driveway and located two more stolen vehicles.

Twenty year old James Steelman was caught coming out of his home booked into the Benton County Jail on the warrants and an investigative hold alleging possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamines.

During the search warrant,  Mark Bates, 52, and Teresa Bates, 45, were detained.  Both had been previously banned from the property and were arrested. Also 25-year-old Joshua Zarbok was located hiding in the attic and was arrested on outstanding warrants.  

Deputies say they found numerous stolen vehicle parts, narcotics, a stolen computer, and drug paraphernalia during the search. 

Deputies were able to search a storage unit rented by Bates and found other vehicle parts that were confirmed to be stolen.

Bates will have an additional charge alleging the possession of the stolen vehicle parts.

This case will remain open while the remaining vehicle parts are identified.