TDI Towing, a Pennsylvania tow truck business, was busted for allegedly running a multi-million dollar “organized criminal enterprise that specialized in the theft of catalytic converters throughout the Delaware Valley region.” Bucks County District Attorney,
TDI would reportedly pay at least $10,000 every night to thieves who brought stolen catalytic converters to the tow yard. “On some nights, there were up to 30 transactions and some thieves appeared more than once,” the DA said in a release. “On several occasions, TDI Towing paid over $1,000 for a converter.”
The DA said TDI paid an average of $300 per unit. This reportedly went on for three years, with an average of 175 catalytic converters arriving every week.
,Connected: Florida fleet owner charged with alleged $112M Ponzi scheme)
More broadly, there appears to be a catalytic converter theft crime wave sweeping the country since the start of the pandemic, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has directed the execution of 32 search warrants and the arrest of 21 individuals in November 2022 in a nationwide bust. The bust reportedly disrupted the theft of $100 million, and in February, both houses of Congress introduced legislation that would stamp catalytic converters with serial numbers and strengthen the laws and penalties regarding their theft. Will do
“The market prices of the three main metals in catalytic converters — rhodium, platinum and palladium — increased dramatically during the pandemic due to supply chain issues,” DA wrote.
Thefts of catalytic converters became so bad that the Bucks County DA “began to focus not only on individual thieves, or ‘cutters,’ but also on organizations or businesses that bought stolen parts, DA said.
A video released by the DA claimed to show the stolen catalytic converter being delivered at night to a still-hot catalytic converter in a TDI, which authorities say operated as a normal business during the day.
The Bucks County District Attorney stated, “This is an example of a recently stolen catalytic converter … that was still too hot to handle.” Matt Weintraub briefs local media about the video,
We An apparent increase in questionable towing practices and charges was reported recently, but the review of about a dozen cases found no such thefts.
,Connected: tow company defends ‘violent’ practices)
According to the DA, “TDI Towing was registered in the state as Diversified Towing & Recovery Inc., but was also listed in business documents as TDI Inc. and Tow Decisions.”
The DA said most of those charged were employees or family relatives of the TDI owner. Michael Williams, who was accused of hooliganism. One of TDI’s alleged “cutters,” who was a TDI employee back in the day, had “multiple open warrants” for catalytic converter theft in Bucks County,” and when the police attempted to stop him he always turned back to Philadelphia. Used to run away,” said the DA. Another TDI worker was convicted of stealing 22 catalytic converters and later failed to appear for sentencing.
In a case on June 16, 2021, the DA alleged that thieves belonging to the TDI were caught stealing a catalytic converter, but the fleeing driver drove towards the detective, crashed into a parked vehicle and fled . The DA wrote, “If the detective had not moved, he would have been trapped between the two vehicles.”
TDI, as well as 10 adults and a juvenile, have been charged by the DA after nearly a year of investigation.
“TDI Towing and its employees are charged with corrupt organizations, criminal conspiracy, dealing in the proceeds of illegal activities, unlawful theft, theft of catalytic converter, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of an instrument of a crime, and criminal use of a communication facility,” the release continued.
Only one defendant, Richard Page, has not been prosecuted, and the county is seeking help locating him. They describe the page as missing fingers on his left hand. (Contact Bucks County Detectives at 215-348-6354 or www.bucksda.org with any suggestions.)