Officers catch catalytic converter thief

BUCKHANNON  A Buckhannon man remains jailed following his Saturday arrest for allegedly stealing multiple catalytic converters from several vehicles this month.

According to court documents, Joshua Dewayne Friend, age 40, was charged with felony grand larceny, petit larceny and injuring or tampering with a motor vehicle for a series of thefts he admitted to committing.

On October 1, the accused and another man he identified only as Darrell, reportedly rode their bicycles to Straight Up Used Auto repair shop on Brushy Fork Road where they cut two catalytic converters off a Subaru Outback and another off a Ford F-150 truck. Each part they removed illegally was valued at $900, according to the business owner, for a total loss of $2,700.

During the investigation, TFC F.J. Turansky conducted an interview with Friend who admitted to the theft and vandalism of both vehicles.

On October 8, local law enforcement received a similar complaint about the theft of catalytic converters from two Toyota trucks located at Hurst Auto Sales on the night of October 5. The victim reportedly showed the officer security footage of the theft, depicting Friend and his accomplice, Thad Marsh, committing the crimes and leaving in a van. During this interview, Friend allegedly told TFC Z.M. Lewis “I cut them off,” when he was questioned about the thefts and damages to the trucks. The two catalytic converters were valued at $200 each for a total loss of $400, according to court documents.

Upshur County Magistrate Mark Davis set a combined bond totaling $13,000 and Friend remains at Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of Wednesday night. If convicted of grand larceny, Friend faces 1-10 years in prison and a fine up to $2,500. He also faces an additional term of jail up to one year and a fine up to $2,500 if convicted of petit larceny, as well as up to six months in jail and a fine not more than $500 if convicted of injuring or tampering with a motor vehicle.


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