A Columbus woman has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for conspiring with her husband and others to steal at least 35 vehicles and selling their parts for more than $500,000.
Tina Imes, 41, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Columbus. She had pleaded guilty in February 2019 to charges that she participated in three chop shop operations with her husband and others on Columbus’ West Side.
Imes and other defendants stole vehicles between January 2013 and April 2014 and sold the parts throughout the Midwest, making $10,000 to $15,000 per week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbus said in a news release.
Her husband, James A. Imes, 51, was sentenced to 120 months in prison in July 2019. Agents who spoke to Tina Imes in October and November 2018 about her husband’s arrest warrant said she told them she planned to divorce her husband, who had fled to Kentucky.
But Tina Imes was actually delivering supplies to her husband at an apartment on Plumway Drive on the Far West Side, the release states.
One stolen vehicle from Buckeye Ford in London, in Madison County, was registered to the couple’s minor son with a fake VIN and title assigned to it, the release states.
Most of the vehicles were sold as parts or scrap to salvage yards. During destruction, refrigerant chemicals used in vehicle air-conditioning units were released into the atmosphere when the tube lines were cut.
The case was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Ohio EPA Special Investigations Unit, as well as with assistance from the Franklin County sheriff’s office, Columbus Division of Police Auto Theft Unit and State Highway Patrol Theft and Fraud Unit.