Philadelphia tow company implicated in catalytic converter theft

A brand new catalytic converter.

Bucks County officials busted a major catalytic converter theft ring. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Bucks County prosecutors are accusing the Philadelphia Tow Truck Company of operating a multimillion-dollar catalytic converter theft ring that has targeted the area.

News run: Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub announced charges Tuesday against 11 people and Philly-based TDI Towing, which has been described as the “prime buyer” of thousands of catalytic converters stolen throughout the Delaware Valley.

why it matters: Catalytic converters — which help filter out harmful emissions from a vehicle’s exhaust — go for big bucks in the resale market, Weintraub said during a press conference yesterday, estimating Ring’s haul over the past three years at $8.2 million. Was.

  • TDI Towing bought an average of about 175 catalytic converters per week, or more than 27,000, paid for over a three-year period. About $300 each, Weintraub said.
  • Theft is a big issue in Philly. According to a police spokesman, the city is expected to see about 6,000 catalytic converters stolen in 2022, and there have already been more than 1,300 thefts during this year.

how it works: The thieves, known as “cutters”, targeted vehicles from Bucks to Montgomery counties for the rhodium, platinum and palladium contained in catalytic converters.

  • An ounce of the precious metal sells for between $1,000-$7,000 due to supply-chain constraints during the pandemic, Weintraub said.

zoom in: Bucks County officials said some burglaries involving the ring turned violent. Weintraub said one of the suspects has been charged with aggravated assault for nearly running over a detective while evading officers.

  • Others face a range of offences, including running a corrupt organisation, theft and criminal conspiracy.
  • The towing company and associates operated “through a pattern of fraud”. As per the criminal complaint. Some have already given exemption from preliminary hearing.

What they are saying: Weintraub said this is the first time the Bucks County DA has criminally charged a corporation, and credited investigators who “worked the chain” to catch the alleged key players.

  • “Our goal is to put them out of business forever,” Weintraub said Tuesday.

Another aspect: TDI Towing did not respond to Axios’ request for comment.

plot: The investigation took nearly a year and involved the cooperation of dozens of law enforcement agencies,

  • Authorities spend thousands of hours monitoring vehicles to identify suspects and license plates to trace stolen goods.

What are we watching: a house bill Sponsored by Representative Mary Louise Isaacson, a Philly Democrat that is under consideration, could make the illegal resale of catalytic converters more difficult by tightening identification requirements for scrap material.

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