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Lancaster man faces more charges in disabled auto thefts - abc27 WHTM

Lancaster County

Lancaster man faces more charges in disabled auto thefts

Posted: Updated:
Francisco Mercado Jr. Francisco Mercado Jr.
LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) -

Police have announced additional charges against a Lancaster man who allegedly stole disabled cars and trucks from local highways and then sold the vehicles for scrap metal.

Francisco Mercado Jr., 37, faces 21 additional felony counts of theft, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and altering or illegally obtaining vehicle identification numbers, according to Lancaster police.

The charges stem from the thefts of eight vehicles stolen in July and August from along Route 222 in Brecknock, East Cocalico, Manheim and West Earl townships, Route 283 in Mount Joy Township, and Route 30 in East Lampeter Township, police said.

Mercado, an employee of J&J Towing and Auto Repair in Reading, was initially arrested in September after police said he used a company truck to haul off disabled cars and trucks from along Route 30 and Route 222 in Lancaster and Berks counties. He was charged with two counts of theft and two counts of operating a chop shop.

The vehicles were towed to a salvage yard in Berks County where they were shredded as scrap metal, police said.

Authorities said they tracked down Mercado in the auto thefts when he towed off a decoy vehicle police had placed on Route 222.

He is being held in the Lancaster County Prison.

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