A Newark man has been accused of stealing three catalytic converters from cars in the yards of his employer, C&L Towing, East Hanover Police said.
Anthony Cooper, 45, was arrested for theft of movable property for three catalytic converters, which are valued at about $500 total.
Det. Andrew T. Underwood said in a police report he searched Cooper's vehicle and found several Sawz-All blades, which could be used to cut metal. He also found several tools and car parts, a power inverter which could power the Sawz-All, and a large mechanic's jack, according to the report.
After the search, police said Cooper agreed to give a statement at headquarters about the incident and admitted to the theft of three catalytic converters from vehicles in C&L Towing lots in South Orange, Parsippany and East Hanover.
Police said the manager of C&L Towing told them he suspected Cooper of stealing two catalytic converters from company trucks. The manager told police in the year Cooper had been working for C&L, there were minor reports of thefts from vehicles, and recently two catalytic converters had been stolen from towing yards in South Orange and Parsippany, according to the report.
Cooper was assigned to C&L locations in Parsippany, East Hanover and South Orange on various nights, the report stated. The manager told Underwood he checked the GPS in Cooper's work vehicle and saw it was at the East Hanover yard from about midnight to 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 4, according to the report.
The manager said Cooper would have no reason to be at the yard at that time since there were no calls and he did not have keys to get into the building, and that it was very unusual for an employee to be in the yard at those hours for no reason, according to the report.
Police first responded to C&L Towing in East Hanover at about 4:10 p.m. on Dec. 4 when they received a report of a theft of catalytic converters. According to Underwood's statement, the manager told him a vehicle had been towed into the storage lot at about 7 p.m. on Dec. 3.
When another employee started to move the vehicle at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, he noticed it was running loudly. The two saw the catalytic converter was missing, which it had not been when the vehicle was brought into the lot., the report said. Another vehicle was also found to be missing a catalytic converter, which is when the manager contacted the police.