COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Police in Groveport, Ohio announced the end of a multimillion-dollar theft ring of catalytic converters in Franklin County. The investigation stretches back over 16 months and involves around 13,000 stolen catalytic converters.
“It hurts everybody, whether you live in Groveport, you live in Reynoldsburg, you live anywhere in the central Ohio community, it just affects us all,” said Chief Casey Adams, with the Groveport Police Department.
Adams said the total estimate in thefts and losses to the community reached nearly $19 million dollars — ten times larger than a previous catalytic converter theft ring, discovered last year.
“We recovered several stolen guns, along with other firearms, a marijuana grow operation, several stolen trailers, vehicles, catalytic converters, zero turn lawnmowers,” said Chief Adams.
The investigation, which was led by Groveport Police, combined the resources of Reynoldsburg police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and BCI. The lead detective on the case, Josh Gilbert, said the entire operation was brought down through multiple methods.
“We normally use informants, we use a heavy amount of surveillance, we use undercovers, so when you think that you’re buying maybe a stolen car or a stolen catalytic converter and you’re going to then turn it for money, you don’t know if they’re working for me or not,” said Gilbert.
However, Gilbert said they’re asking for support from lawmakers to prevent further catalytic converter thefts.
“We could really slow down the thefts of these because there would be additional requirements at the scrapyards,” said Gilbert.
Prosecutors are asking seeking indictments for six people on felony charges related to these thefts.