Let me clarify here. In Tennessee, a junk yard will pay to the bearer of a 10 year old car, the junk value and then crush it, no title needed. The junk yard will not be held responsible. If your car is stolen and junked, and if you can track down the thief, the thief can be held criminally and civilly responsible.
In the case here, the mechanic could still be held responsible, but not the junkyard. Laws vary from state to state but scrap metal thieves are getting to be a major problem around here and so far, the lawmakers have not been competent enough to pass an effective law to stop them. They not only steal cars, they steel working air-conditioners right off the pad or out of the windows of peoples homes, churches, businesses and even public buildings, wiring and water lines out of buildings under construction, even manhole covers and storm drain grates.
It doesn’t help that Arkansas has even more lax laws than Tennessee, that’s where most of the scrap metal goes. Scrappers in AR do not even have to ask for an ID, and they don’t.