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WILLOWS — A sophisticated vehicle theft ring that reportedly targeted cars in Chico, Orland and Corning was taken down this morning in the Willows area.

Most of the vehicles were stolen to be dismantled and sold, officials said.

A multi-agency task force led by California Highway Patrol officers from Willows, and CHP investigators from Redding, swooped down on several locations before noon.

Five vehicles were recovered, along with two pulled engines and 44 miscellaneous auto parts, CHP said. Six suspects will have charges filed against them for participation in the ring, and more people may be charged.

The investigation began nearly a year ago with a CHP traffic stop for a mechanical violation.

The officer noticed the engine in the vehicle had come from another car. His report was turned over to the Glenn County District Attorney”s Office and CHP investigators, who then involved other law enforcement agencies from Butte and Glenn counties in an extensive investigation.

A pattern of stolen vehicles being taken to remote areas in the two counties emerged.

Extensive surveillance identified several individuals, some who were contacted today.

A big blue and white CHP helicopter hovered over Willows most of this morning to help coordinate the massive sweep, and provide extra security for officers on the ground serving search warrants.

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