The individual who was caught in Springfield this week, according to the police, was involved in a scam that involved gathering hundreds of stolen automobiles of an older model and selling them to a scrap yard.
Charles Crouse, 64, was arrested on Thursday and charged with two counts of interfering with a motor vehicle, two counts of money laundering or attempted money laundering, and two counts of attempted tampering with a motor vehicle.
According to a statement of probable cause for the case, Crouse first came to the attention of the Springfield Police Department in November. At that time, a car thief in the area told them about a “older man” who was buying stolen cars and then either selling parts off the vehicles or taking them to scrap yards, which typically pay up to $300 for the metal. Crouse was the “older man” mentioned in the statement of probable cause.
After that, the police began to keep an eye on Crouse and during the month of January, they allegedly witnessed him many times transporting stolen vehicles on his trailer.
According to the statement, on January 24, police installed a tracking device on Crouse’s truck and discovered that he frequently visited All Metal Recycling located on West Division Street. This information was gleaned from the statement.
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According to the statement, law enforcement visited All Metal Recycling on Tuesday and conducted an interview with the business’s owner. The owner reportedly disclosed that Crouse had been supplying the company with vehicles for several years.
According to the statement, the bookkeeping practises of All Metal Recycling were deemed inadequate by the police in relation to Crouse’s transactions.
According to the statement, the owner of the company could only find two bills of sale relating to the transactions that occurred between October 3 and January 27. The sales receipts indicated that Crouse sold sixty vehicles to All Metal Recycling between the dates of October 3 and January 27, but none of the vehicles were sold with a state motor vehicle title. According to the police, All Metal Recycling did not disclose the sales to the Leads Online database either, despite the fact that doing so was mandated by city code.
The statement claims that there is “no way to identify the actual automobiles that were being trashed from the paperwork,” but police believe that the majority of those 60 vehicles were likely stolen. This is due to the record-keeping that Crouse maintained on his sales.
Crouse allegedly has a significant criminal history that includes convictions for stealing, possessing stolen automobiles, and interstate trafficking of stolen vehicles, according to the prosecutors. Crouse is being charged as a prior and persistent offender, which raises the potential range of penalty for the money laundering counts to anywhere between 10 and 30 years in jail, or even life in prison.
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