MANCHESTER – After a three-month long investigation, police after arrested suspects in connection with thefts of catalytic converters in the surrounding areas.
The multiple thefts that occurred within three months throughout Manchester Township, as well as surrounding areas, totaled approximately $25,000 in financial loss to the victims.
Manchester, Toms River and Berkeley Township Police Departments took part in the investigation. According to a statement released by the Manchester Township Police Department, “Lead investigators Det. Adam Emmons of Manchester Township Police Department, Det. Travis Seaman of the Toms River Police Department, and Det. Shawn Bowens of the Berkeley Township Police Department worked tirelessly to develop leads and progress this investigation.”
Subsequently, police were able to identify the suspects as Joseph Cook, 35, and Anna Hardy, 41, both of Manchester. Both have been charged in connection with thefts and each face various charges of theft and criminal mischief.
On March 13, police observed surveillance footage and found Cook and Hardy in isolated areas of Barnegat Township and Tabernacle Township. In both locations, catalytic converters had been cut and removed from vehicles. Detectives then performed a motor vehicle stop on Cook and found cutting tools, and what appeared to be a catalytic converter, in plain sight inside the vehicle.
After detectives performed a search warrant on Cook’s vehicle, they located and seized numerous stolen catalytic converters. Police also performed a search warrant on the suspects’ homes in Manchester Township and found an additional stolen catalytic converter, as well as shoes belonging to Cook which matched footwear impressions left at numerous crime scenes.
The Manchester, Toms River, and Berkeley Township Police Departments would like to thank the Westampton Township Police Department, the Barnegat Township Police Department, and the New Jersey State Police for their collective and cooperative assistance in this investigation.
The Manchester, Toms River, and Berkeley Township Police Departments recommend that all vehicle owners be aware of the increased risk of catalytic converter thefts.
“Catalytic converters from large gas engine vehicles, such as work trucks, recreational vehicles, box trucks and vans are commonly stolen, though ones from hybrid cars are also considered highly valuable. These catalytic converters are part of your vehicles emission system and are valuable in the second-hand market. The damage from these thefts along with replacement costs can be in the thousands of dollars. Vehicles left unattended in lots, yards or clubhouses for any period of time are frequently targeted,” police stated.
If anyone has information regarding these thefts are encouraged to contact the Manchester Township Police Department at 732-657-6111. As a reminder, anonymous tips can be submitted online at manchesterpolicenj.com.