A Salem man is facing felony charges after the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Cortland, Goshen Township and Salem Police Departments and investigators from the National Insurance Crime Bureau served two search warrants on his properties on Sept. 20 and 21.
Robert L. Martin, 46, owner of Yukon Construction in Salem, was charged with receiving stolen property after warrants were served following an initial investigation by the Cortland Police Department that resulted in the recovery of stolen construction equipment valued at nearly $500,000.
An estimated $1.5 million in additional stolen construction equipment and commercial tractor trailers was also recovered.
On Friday, Martin was being held in Trumbull County jail under $300,000 bond.
Salem Det. Dave Talbert said the city expects to present its case to the Columbiana County grand jury next month regarding a Case front end loader valued at $50,000 that was recovered after Martin sold it to a business in town.
The vehicle was reported stolen in Akron on July 13 and recovered on Tuesday.
Talbert said, "I believe before the investigation is complete we'll find more equipment."
Cortland Police got involved in what appeared to be a civil suit after a complainant called about abandoned equipment on a job site.
Police checked the vehicle numbers and determined they were stolen from different locations in Northeast Ohio. Cortland police met with Salem police to locate Martin, Talbert explained.
Talbert said Martin had a clean record.
The agencies served the warrants on Martin's property on state Route 14 near state Route 165 in Goshen Township on Sept. 20.
Another warrant was obtained and served on Martin's residence on Salem-Valley Road in Goshen Township on Friday.
Evidence showed that the property along state Route 14 was operating as a commercial chop-shop where stolen semi-trailers and their loads were being cut up for scrap.
The investigation is ongoing and the highway patrol is seeking information from anyone who has done business with Martin or Yukon Construction.
To report information, call the patrol's Vehicle Theft Unit at 330-898-2945 ext. 30.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org