The FBI, Toledo Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, sheriff's office and Bureau of Criminal Investigation raided three Toledo properties and arrested five men after busting a suspected chop shop ring. One is still on the run.
The five individuals were arrested based on a federal complaint filed in U.S. Court, Northern District of Ohio for their involvement in a scheme involving stealing cargo and dismantling semi-trucks and trailers.
The following were taken into custody by law enforcement officials early Thursday morning:
-Mike Wymer, 54
-Mike Deutsch, 37
-Gary Wymer, Sr., 55
-Terrance Wymer, 28
-Shawn Wymer, 27
An arrest warrant was also issued for Robert Debolt, 47. He is currently at large and considered a fugitive.
"These defendants operated a truck and cargo theft ring, stealing from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, which resulted in multimillion dollar losses. This case was a true collaborative effort by all participating agencies and we are committed to holding accountable those individuals who engage in this organized criminal activity," said Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI's Northern District of Ohio.
Three search warrants were executed Thursday morning at the following Toledo addresses:
-642 Sterling, a suspected chop shop location
-2322 Consaul, a second suspected chop shop location
-661 Sterling, the home of Mike Wymer
"This was a highly-organized group that stole from people throughout the region. The FBI, Ohio State Patrol and all the law enforcement partners involved in this investigation have done a tremendous job shutting down this ring," added U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach.
Items of interest included the following and more:
-Paperwork from stolen semi-trucks and trailers
In September 2012, officials from the Ohio State Highway Patrol approached the FBI about joining forces to investigate reports of semi-trucks and trailers along with their contained cargo being stolen in Ohio. The joint investigation revealed an extensive scheme that reached into Ohio's neighboring states. Additional investigative agencies were brought in to include the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the National Insurance Criminal Bureau and the Toledo Police Department.
This group of individuals is suspected of being involved in a conspiracy to steal trailers in as many as nine towns throughout the state of Ohio, six towns in Indiana and three towns in Michigan from September 2012 through December 2012, resulting in an estimated loss of over $2 million in those four months.
Items within those trailers included but were not limited to:
-Rolled copper wire
-Thousands of pounds of aluminum scrap metal
-Diamond plate sheets
-Spools of metal
Some of these items were trafficked to New Castle, PA and sold as scrap or were listed on the Internet for sale, as in the case of the diamond plate sheets.
"I am happy to say this criminal enterprise has now been dismantled and is no longer a threat to the community. This achievement would not have been possible without the hard work and cooperation of all the law enforcement agencies involved," said Captain Brad Weis with the TPD.
This case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office following a joint investigation by the other authorities involved.
The FBI says this investigation is only the first phase of an ongoing attempt to end similar crimes.
"We are well aware that this enterprise extends much larger than the six individuals that were charged today," said Joseph Callahan with the FBI.
A complaint is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent of the charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
Gary, Mike and Terry Wymer are no strangers to the law. Back in March 1992, the three were arrested by state and federal authorities at a garage on West Alexis Road. Police say they were running one of the largest truck chop shops in this part of the country.
Mike Wymer was sentenced to six to 25 years in prison on state racketeering charges. Gary and Terry Wymer received lesser sentences for their involvement.
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