The ringleader of a "chop shop" that sold stolen semitrailer trucks has filed a suit from prison, claiming the city of West Jordan sold a semi that was his.
James Frank Loveless, a Salt Lake County resident sentenced to eight years in prison on the chop shop charges in 1984, filed the U.S. District Court suit against seven FBI agents. He is seeking a total of $380,000 in damages.Loveless pleaded guilty to three counts of receipt of stolen goods and one count of interstate transportation of stolen goods. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Aldon J. Anderson sentenced him to eight years in prison to be followed by three years' probation.
The suit says Loveless owned a 1966 semitrailer that was seized in 1982 by the city of West Jordan regarding an investigation of him. It says the FBI may mistakenly think it is a 1980 truck.
On Nov. 15, 1982, the suit says, the 5th Circuit Court ordered the truck returned to Loveless.
But the city of West Jordan continued to hold the vehicle, pursuant to a writ of attachment issued by the 3rd Judicial District Court. It adds that on Nov. 18, 1983, this court ruled that third-party claimants have no right to the truck.
On the same day, the FBI took possession of the truck "without a search warrant from the city of West Jordan and transferred it to a Utah County road shop facility in Provo," the suit says.
"Defendants claimed that some parts of (it) belonged to Mr Fred Kobold. However, Mr. Kobold inspected said truck and stated that none of the parts thereon belonged to him."
Still, the FBI refused to return the truck. It was released to the city of West Jordan, which sold it on Sept. 24, 1986.