Multimillion dollar catalytic converter theft ring busted in philadelphia

Catalytic converter theft ring

Catalytic converter theft ring

In an impactful legal development on Tuesday, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office disclosed charges against 11 individuals and a Philadelphia towing company, all allegedly entangled in a multi-million dollar catalytic converter theft ring syndicate.

In a notable development that unfolds the dark underbelly of a thriving black market, charges were announced on Tuesday against 11 individuals and a Philadelphia towing company, all allegedly involved in a multi-million dollar catalytic converter theft ring. The announcement was made by the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.

Catalytic converter theft ring

Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub accused TDI Towing, located in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond area, of purchasing catalytic converters worth $8.2 million over a span of three years. This revelation comes after detectives painstakingly sifted through 5,000 hours of surveillance and executed undercover operations. A surveillance video even depicted an individual inside TDI Towing in Port Richmond extracting a catalytic converter from a vehicle and subsequently cooling it down.

“Our aim? To permanently shut down their operation. A corporate death sentence,” Weintraub stated, asserting that this marked the first instance of charging an entire corporation during his tenure. He further noted, “As you all are well aware, criminals hold no regard for borders.”

Prosecutors have identified Michael Williams, who allegedly runs TDI Towing, as the kingpin of this operation. Charges have also been levied against six employees, many of whom are believed to be related to Williams. These employees include Michael Bruce, Eric Simpson, Kevin Schwartz, Patrick Hopkins, Lisa Davalos, and a minor. According to investigators, these suspects purchased the catalytic converters that were delivered to TDI Towing at all hours.

Catalytic converter theft ring

Four more suspects, referred to as the “cutters” by the investigators, have also been charged. These include Anthony Davalos, Michael Evangelist, and Gary Shirley, all of whom have been apprehended. Richard Page remains elusive and is currently being sought by law enforcement.

“These are the individuals causing damage to your vehicles. These are also the ones who sold the stolen catalytic converters to TDI,” Weintraub disclosed.

Investigators stated that the company purchased an average of 175 converters per week at approximately $300 each and resold the valuable metals contained within them.

“They consist of rhodium, platinum, and palladium,” Weintraub explained, emphasizing that these metals’ value “skyrocketed during the pandemic due to supply chain disruptions.”

Catalytic converter theft ring

The Port Richmond company now stands padlocked. Philadelphia police claim that a major criminal ring in the city has effectively been disbanded.

“The DA here in Bucks County mentioned thousands. Multiply that by a considerable factor, and you get an idea of what Philadelphia has been enduring. It’s a great day when we can pool our resources together,” stated Frank Vanore, the deputy commissioner of investigations for the Philadelphia Police Department.

Prosecutors maintain that the investigation is ongoing, including into the corporations allegedly purchasing the metals from TDI.

Authorities are also urging more victims to come forward. Those whose catalytic converters were stolen are encouraged to contact Bucks County Detectives at 215-348-6354

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