Business cleared of chop shop charges, but owners had to start over

Publish Date: 
Jan 3, 2014

YUMA, Ariz. - A Yuma County Superior Court judge has dismissed the charges and vacated the sentence of a former motorcycle repair shop owner who was accused nearly four years ago of running a chop shop out of his business.

Robert Alan Hagan, who once owned 1% Choppers, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of means of transportation in a plea agreement during the second day of his trial in October 2011. He was sentenced two months later to four years of probation, with a year and a half of it being intensive, according to the Yuma Sun.

He appealed the proceeding, and the court of appeals overturned the ruling against him on the grounds that he pleaded guilty to a plea agreement in which the factual basis of the case did not match the charges against him. The case was sent back to Yuma County Superior Court for further action.

The Yuma County Attorney's Office refiled the charges, which were dismissed with prejudice on Dec. 18 by Yuma County Superior Court Judge Larry Kenworthy.

Hagan and his wife, who have moved to Missoula, Mont., and opened another shop, said they believe a bad choice of names partly led to their four-year ordeal that started with a warrant search in March 2010. The term 1%, they claim, refers to a comment from the American Motorcyclist Association that 99 percent of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens, implying that the other one percent are outlaws.

"We wanted the name to catch the attention of customers, to get them in the door. Granted, we made the wrong decision," said Danyelle Hagan. "To this day it still amazes me that this happened. I wish there would have been a way to look into the future to see what we would be getting ourselves into." 

Posted by Holly Wagner