FBI sting in Ohio collars six for truck and cargo thefts, chop-shopping

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 2/20/2013

Six Toledo, OH, men have been arrested following a joint sting operation state and FBI officers launched to thwart a scheme to steal cargo and dismantle semi-trucks and tractor trailers, according to a release issued by the bureau’s Cleveland office.

Michael G. Wymer, 54, Robert W. DeBolt Jr., 47, Michael A. Deutsch, 37, and Gary J. Wymer, Sr., 55, are all charged with unlawful transport of stolen property in interstate commerce. Shawn Wymer, 27, and Terrance “Terry” L. Wymer Jr, 28, were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting. Both crimes carry sentences of up to 10 years in federal prison.

The men were charged in connection with an investigation that began at least as early as September of 2012, according to an affidavit filed in conjunction with the criminal complaint in U.S. District Court. The affidavit states that the scheme was to seek out semi-trucks and trailers, steal those items, including cargo, and dismantle, destroy, alter or conceal the rigs. The parts and cargo were then either sold as scrap metal, used by the suspects to facilitate further crimes, or listed for sale on the Internet.

“These defendants operated a truck and cargo theft ring, stealing from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, which resulted in multi-million dollar losses,” Special Agent Stephen D. Anthony said in press release issued after the suspects’ arrests.

Federal agents launched raids on Feb. 7 at two suspected chop shop locations in Toledo. A third raid was conducted at Michael Wymer’s home in Toledo. Five of the six men were arrested Feb. 7. DeBolt was apprehended on Feb. 8.

Using video surveillance and GPS tracking devices planted on a white Volvo semi-truck and a Volkswagen Passat belonging to Michael Wymer, authorities observed the vehicles on multiple occasions being used to procure stolen trailers and other merchandise, which were taken to the one of the suspected chop shop locations to be unloaded.

According to the affidavit, the white Volvo left on Sept. 22, 2012, without a trailer, and returned the next day with a trailer containing 24 all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles. The trailer was later confirmed to have been stolen from Williams County, OH. The affidavit states law enforcement officers observed stolen trailers and trucks being unloaded in October, November and December of 2012 as well.

OOIDA’s Doug Morris, Director of Security Operations, works with law enforcement on a regular basis to monitor theft. OOIDA also maintains and operates the TRACER database to report stolen trucks, as well as maintaining a database of “hot spots” for theft around the country. He said drivers need to be cognizant of their surroundings when in towns or cities.

“You always want to park in secure areas, not areas of town that are shady, or known to have thefts of trucks or cars,” he said. “Listen to the CB. Guys out there are going to tell you about what’s going on.”

Morris said drivers should also be careful about what information they give about their cargo.

“Don’t tell people on the CB what kind of load you have,” he said. “Don’t tell people at the diner ‘Hey I got a high-dollar load back there.’ Be cognizant of where you are, be cognizant of whether somebody’s following you, and if that’s the case, call the police.”

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