• Tip leads police to stolen trailers, jet skis


    SUGAR HILL, Ga. - Gwinnett county police arrested a Sugar Hill man for running a chop shop with stolen jet skis and trailers.

    Investigators say they found the stolen watercraft and trailers in his yard.

    Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh spoke to a victim who just got his two jet skis back.

    Police said Dane Sweatman, 25, was stripping or altering the identification numbers off the jet skis and trailers in efforts to sell them.

    Police say the man had a legitimate repair shop at his home, but they found a lot more than that.

    A 75-year-old grandfather said police found two jet skis at the shop which were supposed to be gifts for his granddaughters.

    "Their parents have a boat, and I was going to have these jet skis so the three of them could ride," the Buford man, who did not want to be identified, said.

    He said he first reported the Sea-Doos stolen back in June. He said he woke up one morning and the watercraft and trailer were gone.

    "They (were) probably in Florida, Alabama or out-of-state someplace. I had no idea I'd ever see them again," the man said.

    But it turns out they were only a few miles away. Police said a tip from Hall County investigators led them to a home on Roosevelt Circle in Sugar Hill.

    Investigators said they were looking for a stolen trailer and found three, plus three stolen jet skis.

    Police said Sweatman admitted to knowing the property was stolen.

    Investigators said he would remove the identification numbers from the stolen trailers and jet skis and replace them with numbers from junked watercraft.

    Investigators believe Sweatman would then try to sell them.

    The Buford man said thieves stripped out the batteries and other parts from his jet skis.  He said he is looking at about $5,000 in repairs to get the watercraft running again.

    Sweatman faces several charges, including running a chop shop and theft by receiving. Investigators don't believe Sweatman was the one actually stealing the property.


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