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Sprewell Co. Linked to Stolen Cars

June 29, 1999

SAN GABRIEL, Calif. (AP) _ Workers at an auto shop owned by NBA star Latrell Sprewell sold vehicles that were stolen in Mexico, authorities said.

Nineteen vehicles have been recovered but no arrests related to the theft ring have been made, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies said.

The New York Knicks guard ``does not appear to be involved in these criminal activities,″ a Sheriff’s Department news release said. Deputies refused to discuss the case.

A call to Sprewell’s spokesman was not immediately returned.

Sprewell rejoined the NBA this year after being suspended for most of a season for choking his coach at Golden State. He helped lead the surprising Knicks to the NBA Finals, where they were eliminated in Game 5 Friday night by San Antonio.

Stolen vehicles, including Jeep Grand Cherokees, Ford pickups and Dodge Durangos, were recovered after allegedly being sold by employees at Sprewell Racing, the news release said. The vehicles, stolen in Mexico, were delivered to the shop and sold to unsuspecting buyers.

Sprewell Racing, which opened in October 1998, sells high-performance wheels, tires, suspension systems and other accessories. San Gabriel is 15 miles east of Los Angeles.

A motor home and two SeaDoo watercraft were also recovered, as was $200,000 worth of computer equipment from a cargo theft in Northern California at San Leandro.

Two people were arrested during the investigation on unrelated charges, deputies said.

The investigation was being conducted by the joint local, county and state law enforcement Task Force for Regional Autotheft Prevention.

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