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A large catalytic converter theft ring has come to an end in Sothern Indiana.

On January 14, 2021, Indiana State Trooper Cody Brown began an investigation into the theft of a dump trailer from a utility company. The trailer had been stolen from along River Road, near Ft. Ritner, where the company had equipment parked. In addition, one of the company’s trucks had a catalytic converter cut and removed.

During the course of this trailer theft investigation, ISP began to receive information that several departments were taking reports of stolen catalytic converters. These thefts were occurring not only in Lawrence County, but also in Monroe, Orange, Washington, Martin, and Dubois Counties. Locally, the Lawrence County Police Department, the Bedford Police Department, and the Mitchell Police Department had taken dozens of theft reports. Additionally, Indiana Conservation Law Officers Dennis Talley, Jim Schreck, and others were investigating the theft of catalytic converters from state properties in the area.

As is the case in such widespread and rampant theft rings, each department would uncover a piece of the puzzle and obtain tips/information. As the thefts continued, Trp. Brown, ISP Sgt. Greg Day, and ICO Officers Talley and Schreck began to work together in April 2021. LCPD Sgt. Lonnie Johnson was also very involved in disseminating pertinent information to both ISP and ICO.

Various investigative techniques were utilized, including obtaining electronic communications of suspects. Officers were able to identify Adam Brewer, 31 years old of Bedford, Uriah Stickney, 27 years old of Bedford, Nicholas Arthur, 29 years old of Bedford, and Jeffrey Deckard, 29 years old of Bedford as being involved in the theft ring. Trp. Brown was able to track down and recover the stolen trailer from the utility company. It was located in West Virginia after a man from that state had purchased it from Brewer. The West Virginia State Police recovered the trailer, which has now been returned to the utility company in Indiana.

At this point in the investigation, Troopers and ICO Officers began to rapidly compile evidence against several suspects. ICO was able to arrest multiple people on the converter thefts from state properties (see their earlier news releases). ISP Sgt. Day and Trp. Brown conducted multiple interviews and recovered two more stolen trailers at various locations in Lawrence County. In addition, they recovered stolen battery-powered tools and saws. Troopers also obtained information that Brewer and Deckard had stolen a four-wheeler from a property on SR 446. This theft was uncovered before the victims even knew the four-wheeler was missing. The four-wheeler was recovered when Trp. Brown (while off duty) observed Deckard driving with the four-wheeler in the back of a truck. Trp. Brown contacted the Bedford Police Department, which conducted a traffic stop on Deckard.

Once all of the evidence was compiled, Sgt. Day talked with officials at both Bedford Police Department and the Lawrence County Police Department. It was decided that ISP would write all of the local probable cause affidavits and request warrants on the appropriate suspects. The affidavits were submitted to the court, and warrants were issued on all seven suspects.

On 06/03/2021, Sgt. Day and Trp. Brown organized efforts to track down and arrest the suspects. ISP Troopers, BPD officers, and LCPD officers assisted in locating the suspects. Four suspects were arrested and incarcerated.

The following are the charges for each arrested suspect:

Adam Brewer
1. Corrupt Business Influence (Level 5 Felony)
2. Theft (Converters) over $750 (Level 6 Felony) – 15 counts
3. Theft of Property (tools) over $750 (Level 6 Felony)
4. Theft of a Motor Vehicle (four-wheeler) (Level 6 Felony)
5. Theft (trailer) over $750 (Level 6 Felony)
6. Criminal Mischief over $750 (Class A Misdemeanor) – 15 counts
7. Unauthorized Entry into a Motor Vehicle (Class B Misdemeanor)

Uriah Stickney
1. Corrupt Business Influence (Level 5 Felony)
2. Theft (Converters) over $750 (Level 6 Felony) – 12 counts
3. Theft (trailer) over $750 (Level 6 Felony)
4. Criminal Mischief over $750 (Class A Misdemeanor) – 12 counts

Nicholas Arthur
1. Corrupt Business Influence (Level 5 Felony)
2. Theft (Converters) over $750 (Level 6 Felony) – 5 counts
3. Theft (trailer) over $750 (Level 6 Felony)
4. Criminal Mischief over $750 (Class A Misdemeanor) – 5 counts

Jeffrey Deckard
1. Theft of a Motor Vehicle (four-wheeler) (Level 6 Felony)

In addition to the local charges, ISP and ICO provided evidence to police departments in Monroe, Orange, Washington, Martin, and Dubois Counties. Charges are expected to be filed on suspects in those counties as well. More arrests are expected in Lawrence County as a result of this investigation. In addition, ICO officers are expected to make more arrests relating to thefts from state properties. This investigation is ongoing and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Sgt. Day commended the excellent cooperation between all departments throughout the investigation. Sgt. Day stated, “This theft ring was responsible for tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage and losses not just in our community, but in surrounding counties as well. Due to the sharing of information and collaboration, this investigation had a successful conclusion with justice for dozens of victims.” Sgt. Day also thanked Chief Deputy Prosecutor Allison Chopra and all of the other staff at the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office for their extensive assistance.

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