PITTSBURGH The Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has busted a second alleged chop
shop operation in Ohio in less than six months.
The Cleveland division of the
FBI arrested five men and is searching for a sixth for
allegedly stealing and dismantling semi-trucks and trailers and
selling the metal to a New Castle, Pa., scrapyard.
Mike Deutsch, 37, Gary Wymer
Sr., 55, Mike Wymer, 54, Terry Wymer Jr., 28, and Shawn Wymer,
27, are accused of unlawfully transporting stolen goods in
interstate commerce, according to a complaint filed in U.S.
District Court in Ohio, and an arrest warrant has been issued
for Robert Debolt, 47.
"These defendants operated a
truck and cargo theft ring, stealing in Ohio, Michigan and
Indiana, which resulted in multimillion-dollar losses," said
Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI in
The alleged chop shop operations
took place at two Toledo business addresses as well as at the
residence of Mike Wymer. Evidence recovered includes keys,
titles, license plates and paperwork from stolen semi-trucks
and trailers, ATVs, motorcycles, dump trucks and industrial
equipment, according to the FBI.
The FBI began the probe in
September 2012 after it was approached by the Ohio State
Highway Patrol to investigate the rampant theft of semi-trucks
and their cargoes. Authorities believe more than $2 million in
thefts occurred between September and December 2012 alone,
including the loss of thousands of pounds of aluminum scrap and
One heist included a
tractor-trailer filled with 41,885 pounds of aluminum scrap
being transported from Columbus to New Haven, Ind., while a
second theft involved a trailer containing 5,000 pounds of
The unidentified New Castle
scrapyard is not accused of any wrongdoing.
"This was a highly organized
group that stole from people throughout the region. The FBI,
Ohio State Highway Patrol and all the law enforcement partners
involved in this investigation have done a tremendous job
shutting down this ring," U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach
In September, five Ohio men,
including a scrapyard owner and auto salvager, were arrested
and accused of stealing and scrapping vehicles and other
metals, including cargoes of steel (
amm.com, Sept. 7).