Eight charged in catalytic converter theft ring

March 2, 2010 9:30:48 AM PST
Houston Police think they've broken up a major theft ring targeting catalytic converters. Investigators in the Houston Police Department Metal Theft Unit have arrested the last of eight suspects believed responsible for operating a major theft ring in which catalytic converters were stolen from more than 100 vehicles at four Houston area car dealerships since November 2009.

The suspects are Eric Javon Perkins, 20, Antron Dwayne Mouton, 19, Demarquis Lorenzo Nelson, 19, Jarvis Dewayne Hoskins, 22, Reno Lester Blate, 19, Glen Dale Carter, 17, Walter Glen Ealy, 22, and Cyrus Ray McQuarn, 23. Mouton, Carter and Blate are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. The other five are charged with felony theft.

Perkins is said to be the mastermind of the ring that began operating in the first week of November, targeting catalytic converters in new Toyota Tundra trucks. The Tundra has four separate catalytic converters as part of its exhaust system.

Police say three or four suspects were involved in each operation. The suspects sawed off the converters from the trucks and sold them for about $80 each to local scrap metal businesses that specialize in buying used catalytic converters. Some of the vehicles were damaged a second time after dealers had replaced the converters at a cost of about $3,500 per vehicle.

After a lengthy investigation, suspects were identified and subsequently charged in their roles in the theft ring.