A Jurupa Valley man who joined several others in tearing down stolen vehicles for parts pleaded guilty Wednesday to operating a chop shop and was immediately sentenced to three years probation.
Charley Edward Barker, 31, admitted the misdemeanor charge under a plea agreement reached with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office just as his case was proceeding to a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
In addition to probation, Superior Court Judge David Gunn ordered Barker to pay victim restitution, in an amount that will be worked out by the Department of Probation.
The defendant is the third individual to enter a guilty plea in the case. Anthony James Jimenez, 49, and Marisol Magallanes, 29, both admitted felony chop shop charges last fall and were each sentenced to probation.
Convicted felon Saul Silva, 29, is on the run. He’s also charged with operating a chop shop, as well as a sentence-enhancing allegation of committing a crime within five years of parole from state prison.
The foursome came under investigation in June, when members of the Riverside Auto Theft Interdiction Detail received word that stolen vehicles were being stripped down behind a house in the 5500 block of Agate Street, near Chifney Lane, according to the sheriff’s department, whose personnel are assigned to the unit.
Investigators who served a search warrant at the residence said they found two stolen pickups that Silva, Magallanes and the others were allegedly in the process of taking apart, with the intention of selling the disassembled components.
All of the parties were taken into custody without a struggle.
According to court records, Silva has prior convictions for possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of controlled substances.
Barker has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.