Police: Auto body shop housed gang’s torture chamber

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STOCKTON, Calif. – Joe Tompkins had no idea horrific crimes were happening just a few houses down from him.

“It’s just very disconcerting,” said Tompkins.

In Dec. 2012, David Ray Bartol is accused of kidnapping a man and taking him to Tom’s Auto Body.

Investigators say the unassuming auto body shop served as a torture chamber.

Court documents show that Bartol admitted to duct taping the man, burning him with cigarettes, torturing him with a grinder and dousing him with gasoline.

After the torture, investigators say Bartol injected a syringe full of heroin into the victim’s neck.

Authorities say Bartol told them that he thought the man was dead, so he rolled him in a blanket and dumped him behind a business.

When officers discovered him, he was barely alive.

Two months later, Bartol is accused of kidnapping and torturing another man.

Investigators allege he beat him with a baseball bat before shooting him twice.

Amazingly, that man also survived.

“I drive by that every day. It just seemed like a respectable auto body shop,” Tompkins said.

Investigators say Bartol is a member of a white supremacist gang and has been arrested several times.

He was also convicted of killing a fellow inmate in prison.

Joe Tompkins said he knew there was crime around him, even gang activity, but never suspected this.

“It’s disheartening to know that it’s around, and really you can’t do much about it,” Tompkins said.

Bartol pleaded not guilty on Monday.

His next court appearance is in April.

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