On Tuesday, the Bucks County District Attorney’s office announced charges against 11 individuals and a towing company based in Philadelphia in connection with a catalytic converter theft ring worth millions of dollars.
According to Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub, TDI Towing, located in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section, purchased catalytic converters amounting to $8.2 million over a span of three years. Law enforcement authorities conducted extensive investigations, including reviewing 5,000 hours of surveillance footage and carrying out undercover operations.
Notably, one surveillance video captured an individual extracting a catalytic converter from a vehicle inside TDI Towing and cooling it off. Weintraub expressed his determination to permanently shut down the operation, calling it a “corporate death sentence,” marking the first time he has pursued charges against an entire corporation during his tenure. Weintraub emphasized that criminals disregard borders, underscoring the need for comprehensive action.
The prosecution identified Michael Williams as the alleged mastermind behind TDI Towing, while six employees, several of whom are related to Williams, are also facing charges. The named employees are Michael Bruce, Eric Simpson, Kevin Schwartz, Patrick Hopkins, Lisa Davalos, and a juvenile offender.
Investigators claim these suspects procured the stolen catalytic converters, which were then delivered to TDI Towing at all hours of the night. Additionally, four other individuals, described as the “cutters,” have been charged, including Anthony Davalos, Michael Evangelist, and Gary Shirley, all of whom have been apprehended, while Richard Page remains at large. Weintraub pointed out that these individuals were responsible for damaging vehicles and supplying the stolen catalytic converters to TDI Towing.
The company reportedly acquired an average of 175 converters per week, selling them for approximately $300 each, profiting from the precious metals contained within, such as rhodium, platinum, and palladium. Weintraub noted that the value of these metals surged significantly during the pandemic due to supply chain disruptions.