LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – New details have been released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department following the arrest of a man accused of running an illegal gas business and possessing stolen vehicles from across the Las Vegas valley. Jose Hernandez, 48, is accused of modifying several different vehicles to store gas on his property, according to an arrest report.
Police initially began investigating Hernandez after his daughter called the department, claiming her father had broken into her home and stolen her dog on April 5.
Officers searched the home and discovered a Ford F350 in the backyard that had been reported stolen in August from a Las Vegas Strip hotel, along with a Dodge pickup reported stolen in Henderson in March. Hernandez’s daughter told police that he often works on vehicles in the backyard, and added that he would purchase gasoline and then sell it at a profit, according to the arrest report.
Officers continued their investigation and found several vehicles in different stages of disassembly or modification, in what resembled a chop shop. They also found several trailers with VIN numbers removed.
Detectives referred to the modified vehicles as “Frankensteins” due to several different parts being removed and then added to different frames. Police say this is a known tactic used by suspects to disguise vehicles.
Hernandez was located later that evening in Jean, Nevada, and taken into custody. He admitted to police that he knew the Dodge was stolen, and claimed he found a firearm inside the vehicle.
Hernandez also told police he used the vehicles to make “fuel trucks” for his illegal fuel business, according to the report.
Hernandez now faces charges including, owning or operating a vehicle chop shop, and possession or transfer of stolen vehicles.