Bodycam video helps in Niles catalytic converter theft case

Local News

Richard Webber is being held without bond on several charges

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Niles Police say they caught a man “red-handed” carrying a catalytic converter cut from a vehicle behind a nearby business.

Richard Webber is being held without bond on several charges including breaking and entering, theft, vandalism, and possessing criminal tools.

Niles Police responded to Penn Care Sunday after someone spotted a man cutting a catalytic converter from a vehicle behind the business and leave through a fence.

“First officer that came in from the plaza side observed Richard Webber carrying a big object that ended up being a catalytic converter. When he saw the police car, he dropped that and turned and ran,” said Capt. John Marshall.

Police body camera shows the officer pass the catalytic converter as he’s chasing the man. Webber. Webber was taken into custody behind a nearby plaza but denied his involvement.

Officer: Alright, I’m gonna grab that catalytic converter, too.
Webber: That’s not mine
Officer: (Laughs) No (expletive)? I saw you walking with the catalytic converter, dude
Webber: No you didn’t, bro
Officer: Don’t (expletive) me. You’re on my bodycam

Officers say they found a Sawzall and replacement blades inside Webber’s backpack. It is a tool commonly used to quickly remove catalytic converters from vehicles.

“As easy as it is to do, it takes very little time and really biggest hindrance is people paying attention and seeing people underneath a car where they don’t belong,” Marshall said.

In addition to the new charges, Webber also had outstanding warrants four failing to appear in Girard Municipal court for two unrelated cases.

Webber is due back in Niles Court for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

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