Catalytic Converter Theft Ring Busted

Published 9:09 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

In the summer of 2021, two concerned citizens (on separate occasions) personally met with Sheriff Wiley Griffin concerning catalytic converter thefts and resales in S.W. Georgia. After those conversations, Sheriff Griffin instructed Investigators with the DCSO to start “Operation Alchemy.”

The investigation has been conducted through the joint efforts of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, Bainbridge Public Safety, Grady County Sheriff’s Office, Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office, Camilla Police Department, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Early County Sheriff’s Office, and Joe Mulholland/ District Attorney’s Office. The Prosecuting Attorneys Council (PAC) also provided invaluable legal assistance and review.

Twenty-four people so far have been charged with various crimes related to Operation Alchemy, which was investigated and charged as a Racketeering Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case. More arrests are anticipated in the near future.

The charges have included conspiracy to commit a crime, theft by receiving stolen property, theft by taking, false statements and writings, verifiable documentation required and possession of a controlled substance.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we will stop the theft of catalytic converters and the purchasing of stolen catalytic converters in Decatur County,” said Sheriff Griffin.

“It has to STOP, and it will STOP,” said Major Wendell Cofer.

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Office realizes that our citizens are tired of trying to leave for work, only to discover some criminal has cut their converter off during the night. They are tired of the church vans getting ready to make their Sunday morning runs, only to realize some criminal has cut their converter off the van.

Subsequently, Sheriff Griffin has SUSPENDED indefinitely three (3) Secondary Metal Recycling Permits issued to businesses in Decatur County, Georgia, one of which was SmithCo. Recycling.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of these wanted individuals or information regarding stolen catalytic converters, please call Career Criminal’s Unit Captain Adam Mobley at 229-400-8011 or Sgt. Justin Kelly at 229-400-8017.