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YCSO deputy conducts traffic stop, recovers stolen vehicle


NORTH VALLEY – A stolen vehicle was recovered after a Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop on a truck towing a trailer with no visible license plate.

According to a release from YCSO, on March 29, a YCSO deputy driving south on I-17 in the New River area stopped a black 2011 Dodge Ram truck towing an apparent identical truck on a flatbed trailer. The trailer had no visible license plate. The driver was identified as Brian Byce, and he was abnormally nervous while speaking with the deputy. Byce could only produce registration for the truck he was driving. He did not have any paperwork for the trailer or the truck being towed. Byce explained that he was coming from Colorado and heading to the Anthem area to sell the truck under tow.

YCSO reported that during questioning about both trucks, Byce’s answers were confusing as to ownership of identical vehicles. Byce became increasingly nervous as the deputy attempted to gain information. Byce could not adequately explain why he did not have the title for the truck he was about to sell in Anthem. Byce claimed it was a model year 2005. The deputy, who had owned a 2005 Dodge truck, knew immediately the model on the trailer was much newer, and the model on the trailer appeared identical to the 2011 Dodge truck Byce was driving. 

As deputies were about the check the VIN on the truck being towed, Byce admitted previously removing all its VIN identification because he did not want the buyer to register the vehicle. Deputies verified the dash VIN plate was missing and the VIN ID on the driver door had been cut away. When examining the truck being driven by Byce, deputies located a VIN plate on the dash but discovered the VIN ID had been removed from the driver’s door. The VIN mounted to the dash came back to a 2011 Dodge truck but deputies remained suspicious because of the missing VIN label on the door. During follow-up with assistance from troopers assigned to the DPS Auto Theft Task Force, deputies discovered the VIN plate on the truck driven by Byce had been removed from the truck in tow. The true VIN record showed the truck was stolen out of Pennsylvania. 

At this point, Byce admitted knowledge that he was driving a stolen truck. He also acknowledged removing the VIN plate from the truck he was towing and attaching it to the stolen truck. He then registered the stolen truck in his home state using the transferred VIN information and was now hoping to dump/sell the stripped truck under tow.

Byce was arrested for Vehicle Theft, Conducting a Chop Shop, and Altering a VIN number. He was booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center and has since been released on a $15,000 bond.

This investigation is ongoing, with assistance from the Auto Theft Task Force.