NEWPORT BEACH — An international "chop shop" ring that allegedly stripped down at least a dozen stolen Porsches and attempted to ship the parts to Australia was uncovered after an investigation by Newport Beach police, authorities announced this morning.
Newport Beach Police Lt. Tim Newman said police were tipped off that auto parts were being delivered from the home of Steven Wayne Spaliviero, 25, and set up a surveillance at his residence on West Coast Highway.
Investigators followed Spaliviero to Australian Cellular Exports in Costa Mesa, located in an area where four dismantled Porsches have been recovered by police in the last month, officials said.
After observing workers loading parts to a shipping business in Carson and discovering a shipment bound for Australia, police obtained a warrant and arrested Spaliviero at his home, where officers found a dismantled Porsche in the garage, Newman said. Spaliviero was also armed with a 9-millimeter handgun when he was arrested last Friday, authorities said.
Three employees of Australian Cellular Exports and a man described as a self-employed importer were also arrested. They were identified as Giuseppe Russo, 27, of Costa Mesa; John Scott Sanders, 25, of Costa Mesa; Rick James Ryan, 29, of Hermosa Beach, and Abraham Lahdo, 23, of Lynwood, Australia. All were charged with conspiracy to commit grand theft.