Several arrests made in connection to catalytic converter thefts
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Five people were recently arrested in connection to a series of catalytic converter thefts out of Parkersburg.
According to a news release, Brian Sidwell, of Parkersburg, and Jason Bartimus, of Vincent, were charged with a felony count of grand larceny each. Bartimus was released on a $7,500 bond, but Sidwell is still in jail on a $50,000 bond.
Forty-one-year old Scott Bush, of Davisville, 34-year-old Crystal Ventimiglia, also of Davisville, and 37-year-old Christopher Allman, of Parkersburg, were charged with conspiracy to commit grand larceny and conspiracy to commit destruction of property. Both charges are felonies.
All three were arraigned in Wood County Magistrate Court and given $10,000 bonds. Bush and Ventimiglia posted their bonds and were released. Allman is still in jail.
These five arrests were the result of an ongoing investigation by the Parkersburg Police Department. Department officials said they have taken theft reports of at least 45 catalytic converters just within Parkersburg’s borders in the last year. They expect to make more arrests as the investigation continues.
A news release said the thefts have taken place day and night at retailers, churches, body shops and various other locations. Police said the thefts have cost business owners thousands of dollars just in damage. Catalytic converters, police said, are sought by thieves because of the precious metals inside them. Catalytic converter theft is apparently an ongoing problem nationwide.
Detective J.D. Hart is credited by department higher-ups for his investigative work which led to the latest arrests.
Police say the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department have helped in the investigation.
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