A Philadelphia man has been arrested for allegedly stealing catalytic converters from vehicles parked at local car dealerships.
After a monthslong collaborative police investigation, 34-year-old Curtis Wallace Jr. was arrested in Philadelphia and transported to the Allegheny County Jail.
According to Bethel Park Police Detective Sean Gorman, Wallace targeted Mitsubishi SUVs, and was caught on camera stealing several catalytic converters from the dealership on Library Road back in April.
The footage, provided to Channel 11, shows a man parking in a nearby lot and walking toward the dealership’s parked vehicles. The crook spends close to an hour unbolting the catalytic converters and making trips back and forth to his parked vehicle. An accomplice is eventually seen assisting him before they take off.
The suspect vehicle displayed a “fictitious paper plate,” according to Gorman, which initially made it challenging to track the thieves.
The following month, Wallace allegedly hit a Mitsubishi dealership in Ross Township. Detectives there coordinated with Bethel Park police, and together the agencies were able to gather additional surveillance footage and ultimately identify Wallace as a suspect.
“Through some other investigative tools, we were able to confirm that he had been the one that was out here for both incidents,” Gorman told Channel 11. “These cases require a lot of research, investigation, search warrants ... bringing him here was a pretty big undertaking.”
Wallace’s arrest comes as catalytic converter thefts are spiking across the United States. Gorman called this a “small dent in a large problem.”
It’s unclear where Wallace had been selling or attempting to sell the precious metals.
Gorman said that many local, legitimate pawnshops and scrap yards now hesitate to purchase catalytic converters in light of the theft cases.
It’s unclear if Wallace’s accomplice has been identified and charged. Channel 11 will continue to provide updates on this case as we receive them.
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