UPDATE: Guilty Verdicts in Family Chop Shop Trial

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 10/25/12 @ 1 p.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Three members of a family from Johnson County have been found guilty of running a "chop shop" and will now be heading to prison

In March, Marty Welch, 46, Madaline Welch, 43, and Ian Welch, 21, were indicted on dozens of charges that included receiving stolen property, trafficking in stolen vehicles or stolen vehicle parts and forgery.

Their trial began Monday in Johnson County Circuit Court. Early Wednesday evening, a jury returned guilty verdicts against the three after deliberating for several hours.

The jury found Marty Welch guilty on all counts. The recommended sentence for him is 10 years, according to prosecutors.

Madaline Welch was also found guilty on all counts. Her recommended sentence is seven years.

The jury found Ian Welch guilty on 5 of the counts against him. He also has a recommenced sentence of seven years.

Investigators with KSP and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office said the family operated the chop shop out of a wrecker service based out of their home in Hager Hill between June 2008 and January 2012.

On January 5, the Sheriff's Department and the Kentucky State Police Auto Theft Division searched the property and seized two alleged stolen cars, several computers and other documents from the home.

Marty Welch previously said he bought car parts on the internet and didn't know they might be stolen.

The three will be formally sentenced in November.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/25/12 @ 6:30 a.m.
PAINTSVILLE, KY. (WSAZ) -- A verdict was reached late Wednesday in the trial of a family accused of using their wrecker service as a chop shop.

A jury in Johnson County, Kentucky, found Marty and Madeline Welch and their son, Ian, guilty.

Trafficking in stolen vehicles was just one of the many charges against them.

In January, police said they found some stolen cars on the family's property in Hager Hill.

The three could spend several years in prison.

They'll be sentenced later this year.


UPDATE 10/24/12 @ 6 p.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A verdict has been reached in a family run “chop shop” case in Eastern Kentucky.

Judge Preston's office in Johnson County tells WSAZ.com that verdicts have been reached in the cases against Marty, Madaline and Ian Welch.

The three are facing charges in connection with allegedly running a chop shop from their wrecker service business.

The jury had their case for just a couple of hours.

The court is now waiting on the penalty phase and when that is completed, they will release all the information.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on the case.



UPDATE 10/24/12 @ 3 p.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Testimony has wrapped up in the trial of three family members from Johnson County charged with running a "chop shop."

In March, Marty Welch, 46, Madaline Welch, 43, and Ian Welch, 21, were indicted on dozens of charges that included receiving stolen property, trafficking in stolen vehicles or stolen vehicle parts and forgery.

Their trial began Monday in Johnson County Circuit Court. Prosecution testimony wrapped up Wednesday morning. The defense wrapped up their case late Wednesday morning.

The jury got the case about 3 p.m.

Investigators with KSP and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office say the family allegedly operated the chop shop out of a wrecker service based out at their home in Hager Hill between June 2008 and January 2012.

On January 5, the Sheriff's Department and the Kentucky State Police Auto Theft Division searched the property and seized two alleged stolen cars, several computers and other documents from the home.

Marty Welch previously said he bought car parts on the internet and didn't know they might be stolen.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/24/12 @ 10:15 a.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The defense in now presenting their case in the trial of three family members from Johnson County charged with running a "chop shop."

In March, Marty Welch, 46, Madaline Welch, 43, and Ian Welch, 21, were indicted on dozens of charges that included receiving stolen property, trafficking in stolen vehicles or stolen vehicle parts and forgery.

Their trial began Monday in Johnson County Circuit Court. Prosecution testimony wrapped up Wednesday morning.

Investigators with KSP and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office say the family allegedly operated the chop shop out of a wrecker service based out at their home in Hager Hill between June 2008 and January 2012.

On January 5, the Sheriff's Department and the Kentucky State Police Auto Theft Division searched the property and seized two alleged stolen cars, several computers and other documents from the home.

Marty Welch previously said he bought car parts on the Internet and didn't know they might be stolen.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/23/12 @ 10 a.m.
PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Testimony continued Tuesday in the trial of a husband, wife, and their adult son charged with running a "chop shop."

In March, Marty Welch, 46, Madaline Welch, 43, and Ian Welch, 21, were indicted on dozens of charges that included receiving stolen property, trafficking in stolen vehicles or stolen vehicle parts and forgery.

Their trial began Monday in Johnson County Circuit Court. Prosecution testimony continued Tuesday morning.

Investigators with KSP and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office say the family allegedly operated the chop shop out of a wrecker service based out at their home in Hager Hill between June 2008 and January 2012.

On January 5, the Sheriff's Department and the Kentucky State Police Auto Theft Division searched the property and seized two alleged stolen cars, several computers and other documents from the home.

Marty Welch previously said he bought car parts on the Internet and didn't know they might be stolen.

Following their indictment, the trio pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The trial is expected to wrap up this week.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 4/6/12 @ 5:55 p.m.
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The numbers are shocking. In the United States, someone steals a car every 40 seconds.

While some steal for transport or joy rides, most go to so called "chop shops" to sell car parts.

And in the latest on a suspected chop shop investigation, WSAZ.com found that police say it was "all in the family" -- in fact, a nuclear family. A mom, dad and son are facing charges that highlight trafficking in stolen vehicles.

Many know that the most popular stolen cars are not the newest or flashiest. Experts say they're the ones with parts that don't change much from year to year. In this case, they seem to fit the profile.

At a Johnson County Circuit Court arraignment on Friday, Marty Welch, his wife Madeline Welch and -- earlier in the morning -- their 21-year-old son Ian Welch, all pleaded not guilty.

Investigators say the family works out of their rural Hager Hill/Middlefork area home where they run a wrecker service. The indictment shows the Welches were found with a variety of stolen cars and parts.

The list includes a Ford Mustang, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Toyota Camry -- with none of the cars newer than 2009.

Police say the Welches altered the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) tht are not just found on the dashboard.

Marty Welch previously said he bought car parts on the Internet and didn't know they might be stolen. The Welches had no comment Friday, and their attorney told us they had no stolen goods.

In a January raid on the Welch home, besides some suspected stolen cars, police also seized documents and computers. The charges include receiving stolen property, trafficking in stolen vehicles and parts, and forgery.

All three Welches are free on bond. There's no word from police on who's suspected of doing the stealing -- the Welches or others.

We found chop shops fall into two categories -- independent operations or part of a bigger organized crime network. We asked which category we might have here and were told this is an ongoing investigation with more information to come.

Most of the suspected stolen cars were local, which is a bit unusual. The No. 1 stolen car in America, often topping lists, is the Honda Accord.



UPDATE 4/6/12 @ 11:30 a.m.
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A husband, wife, and their adult son accused of running a chop shop are pleading not guilty to the charges against him.

Marty Welch, 46, Madaline Welch, 43, and Ian Welch, 21, each entered the pleas during their arraignments in Johnson County Circuit Court Friday morning.

Last month the family was indicted on dozens of charges that included receiving stolen property, trafficking in stolen vehicles or stolen vehicle parts and forgery.

Investigators with KSP and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office say the family allegedly operated the chop shop out of a wrecker service based out at their home in Hager Hill between June 2008 and January 2012.

On January 5, the Sheriff's Department and the Kentucky State Police Auto Theft Division searched the property and seized two alleged stolen cars, several computers and other documents from the home.

Following the search, Marty Welch told our sister-station, WYMT, that he bought car parts on the internet and did not know they were possibly stolen.

Pre-trials for Marty, Madaline, and Ian are set for May.4 The trio remains free on bond.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/21/12
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A husband, wife, and their adult son are accused of running a chop shop in Johnson County.

Last week a grand jury indicted Marty Welch, 46, Madaline Welch, 43, and Ian Welch, 21, on dozens of charges that include receiving stolen property, trafficking in stolen vehicles or stolen vehicle parts and forgery.

The charges stem from June 2008 to January 2012. According to the indictments, the vehicles included a Ford Mustang, Toyota Camry, Chevy Tahoe and Chevy Yukon.

Investigators with KSP and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office say the family allegedly operated the chop shop out of a wrecker service based out at their home in Hager Hill.

"My understanding, it was done through the wrecker service using the wrecker equipment," said Sheriff's Deputy Tim Clark.

On January 5, the Sheriff's Department and the Kentucky State Police Auto Theft Division searched the property and seized two alleged stolen cars, several computers and other documents from the home.

Following the search, Marty Welch told our sister-station, WYMT, that he bought car parts on the internet and did not know they were possibly stolen.

Tuesday, the Welch’s referred all questions about the indictments to their attorney.

"Mr. and Mrs. Welch have been business people in the Johnson County community for several years now. They have no incidences of this in their past and they maintain their innocence throughout this process," said Kent Varney.

Marty, Madaline, and Ian will be arraigned on the charges April 6.

If convicted, each of the people faces jail time and fines.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Department and KSP Auto Theft Division are still investigating and ask anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Office or State Police.


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