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Philadelphia towing firm charged in a multi-million greenback catalytic converter theft ring. | VW Vortex


“DOYLESTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — The Bucks County District Attorney’s office announced charges Tuesday against 11 people and a Philadelphia towing company in a multi-million dollar catalytic converter theft ring.

Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub says TDI Towing in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section bought $8.2 million worth of catalytic converters over three years.

Detectives combed through 5,000 hours of surveillance and conducted undercover operations. One surveillance video shows a person inside of TDI Towing in Port Richmond pulling a catalytic converter out of a car and cooling it off.

“Our goal? To put them out of business forever. A corporate death sentence,” said Weintraub, who added this is the first time in his tenure he’s charged an entire corporation.

Twenty-seven law enforcement agencies across the Delaware Valley were involved in the investigation.

“As you all know, criminals don’t care about borders,” said Weintraub.

Prosecutors say Michael Williams runs TDI Towing and is the kingpin. Six employees, many of whom are related to Williams, are also charged. They include Michael Bruce, Eric Simpson, Kevin Schwartz, Patrick Hopkins, Lisa Davalos, and a juvenile. Investigators say these suspects bought the converters, which were brought to TDI Towing all hours of the night.

Four more suspects, who investigators described as the cutters are also charged. They include Anthony Davalos, Michael Evangelist, and Gary Shirley, all of whom have been arrested. Richard Page is still on the run.

“These are the people that do the damage to your automobiles. These are also the people that sold the stolen cats to TDI,” said Weintraub.

Investigators say the company bought an average 175 converters per week at about $300 each and was reselling the precious metals.

“They are rhodium, platinum and palladium,” said Weintraub, who added the value of these metals “increased dramatically during the pandemic because of supply chain issues.”

There are now padlocks on the Port Richmond company. Philadelphia police say a major criminal ring in the city has been shuttered.

“You heard the DA here in Bucks County say thousands. You could times that by a crooked number and you know how many Philadelphia has been suffering. So it’s a good day when we can put all of our resources together,” said Frank Vanore, the deputy commissioner of investigations for the Philadelphia Police Department.

Prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing including into the corporations buying the metals off of TDI.

They’re also encouraging more victims to come forward and contact police if their catalytic converter was stolen.”

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