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Chop Shop Operation Nets Jail Time

By Liz Zemba, Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 30--Three Fayette County men who operated a chop shop at a Springfield Township business have been sentenced to state prison and, along with the business owner, ordered to pay $117,913 in restitution.

A fifth man is to be sentenced in September while the business owner, identified by police as Terry Ritenour of Ritenour Trucking in Normalville, is serving house arrest.

In criminal complaints, state police said Ritenour, 39, conspired with Thomas Jerome Stark Sr., 48, of Springfield, Thomas Jerome Stark Jr., 22, of Upper Tyrone, Frederick Junior Bowers, 24, of Bullskin and James Robert Scott, 38, of Connellsville to cut parts off a stolen triaxle to be used to repair one of Ritenour's trucks.

Police said the stolen triaxle was taken June 2, 2012, from property owned by Phillip McNair in Connellsville Township and driven to Ritenour's business to be dismantled.

The parts, according to court records, were to be used to rebuild another stolen truck at the business. The second stolen truck, police said, was a 1998 triaxle.

Police said that in addition to the two stolen trucks and tires, they found at Ritenour's business a triaxle engine removed from a 1992 truck tractor reported stolen from A.C. Moyer Inc. in 2011.

Police said Ritenour gave Stark Sr. $1,000 for 10 new truck tires and wheels, valued at $12,000, that were stolen from Morocco Welding in Somerset.

Ritenour, Scott and Bowers pleaded guilty to participating in a chop shop and related charges. The Starks pleaded guilty to theft and related charges. Scott had a charge of flight to avoid apprehension added for absconding to Nevada County, Calif., according to court records.

President Judge John F. Wagner Jr. on Thursday sentenced Scott to one to two years in prison. Wagner previously sentenced Stark Sr. to two to four years in prison and Stark Jr. to one to two years in prison.

Wagner on May 12 sentenced Ritenour to 23 months of intermediate punishment, to be served under house arrest with electronic monitoring.

All four defendants who have been sentenced were ordered to make $117,913 in restitution, with the money to be split among the state police's auto theft task force and several insurance companies.

Bowers' sentencing will be at 9:30 a.m.Sept. 25 before Wagner.

Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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(c)2014 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

Visit Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) at www.triblive.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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