GROVE CITY – In an investigation that covered crimes in four counties, Grove City police filed charges against two people believed to be part of a Michigan-based crime ring in multiple thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles.
Jordan Ray Klinefelter, 22, and Myracle Daineshia Hall, 20, both of Roseville, Mich., are facing charges in the thefts.
Two Carrie Way residents reported that the catalytic converters had been stolen from their vehicles on Nov. 21. Damages were estimated at $500 for one vehicle, and $400 for the other. Police said in a criminal complaint that they found yellow paint flakes — most likely from the blade of a saw used to cut out the catalytic converters — on both vehicles.
Catalytic converters are devices that control vehicles’ emissions by converting toxic pollutants in exhaust gas into less-toxic substances.
A man reported Nov. 23 that the catalytic converter had been cut from his van, which had been parked in the 300 block of South Broad Street, causing $160 in damage.
In a theft the same day, a mechanic said the catalytic converter in a SUV was cut in the same manner while it was parked in a Grove City College lot on East Main Street. Damage to the SUV was estimated at $1,200.
Images from the college’s surveillance cameras showed a dark-colored SUV and a silver Chevrolet Equinox park in a lot shortly after 1 a.m. Nov. 21 near where one of the thefts took place.
Police in Cranberry Township, Butler County, where vehicle owners also reported catalytic converter thefts, captured images of a silver Equinox with a Michigan license plate on a Freedom Road traffic camera.
On Nov. 21, police in Conway Borough, Beaver County, tried to stop a silver Equinox with the same license plate number after a suspected traffic violation. The vehicle crashed in Harmony Township after a brief chase.
Hall was driving the vehicle, and Klinefelter was the passenger. Police said they found several catalytic converters and impounded the vehicle.
A search warrant turned up 24 catalytic converters, each bearing yellow paint flakes.
Some of the converters were matched to the vehicles that had been damaged.
Hall, who admitted to being involved with the thefts, told police that she and Klinefelter acted as lookouts and provided a storage vehicle while another person did the cutting.
Conway police arrested Hall and Klinefelter, and they were taken to Beaver County Jail.
Hall was released on bond Nov. 23 and she was later found in an SUV with Florida license plates. Police believe that vehicle to have been present at the location of other catalytic converter thefts, including incidents in Ross and Moon townships, Allegheny County.
The SUV was impounded after a traffic stop in Ross Township. Police said they found multiple yellow reciprocating-saw blades in the vehicle.
Cranberry Township police charged several people from the SUV with catalytic converter thefts. They said an investigation determined that they were working with a theft ring that was operating near Detroit.
Grove City police charged Klinefelter for three separate cases with a total of four counts each of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property and three counts of criminal mischief.
He was arraigned by District Judge D. Neil McEwen, Pine Township, and was in Mercer County Jail, according to online court records.
Hall was charged with four counts each of theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief and two counts of receiving stolen property.
She is free on bond and has yet to be scheduled for a hearing with McEwen.