Charlotte deputies crack catalytic converter theft case

Yordan Cespedes, left, and Andy Herrera
Yordan Cespedes, left, and Andy Herrera(CCSO)
Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 9:11 AM EDT
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PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (WWSB) - Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputies say they’ve broken up a scheme using a fake towing service to cover up a catalytic converter theft operation.

Two men are in custody after surveillance video allegedly caught them taking a catalytic converter from a truck in Punta Gorda, the sheriff’s office said.

On May 23rd, deputies responded to a business on Tamiami Trail in south Punta Gorda, where they found that the catalytic converter was cut and removed from a pickup truck.

When reviewing the surveillance footage from the business, detectives watched a tow truck pull into the parking lot. Two suspects then exit the vehicle. While one suspect looked underneath the pickup, the other acted as a lookout. At one point, one of the suspect walks directly in front of the camera where the letter “B A” can be clearly seen tattooed on his right arm. All of this takes places within less than 5 minutes.

The tow truck was marked with “Kings Towing,” a nonexistent company. Detectives say this tow truck was used as an elaborate façade to commit crimes during the day without drawing unwanted suspicion.

On June 22, the tow truck was spotted by road patrol deputies on Interstate 75. The driver’s tattoo matched what was observed on the surveillance footage from May 23. During this traffic stop, the passenger provided deputies with a fraudulent business card stating he owned and operated Y & S Towing. It was determined that neither Kings Towing or Y & S Towing are legitimate businesses.

The suspects were identified as Andy Manuh Flores Herrera, 35, and Yordan Carreras Cespedes, 33. Both suspects were interviewed, where a confession was obtained to their involvement into catalytic converter thefts in the area and selling the items for profit. The theft of catalytic converters has been a recent criminal trend throughout southwest Florida.

Both suspects were arrested and charged with theft, burglary, and dealing in stolen property.

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