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Northwest Minnesota man charged in massive catalytic converter theft bust

According to court documents, the Otter Tail County man admitted to stealing approximately 180 to 200 catalytic convertors over the past several years.

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An Otter Tail County man has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than 150 catalytic converters. The vehicle part is a hot item for thieves because of the increasing demand for rhodium, palladium and other precious metals found in the converters, which are designed to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions.
Star Tribune / FNS file photo
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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. -- A rural Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, man has been arrested in connection with the thefts of over 150 catalytic converters along with damaging the Pelican Rapids impound lot.

Darin Drew Dillon, 34, of Erhard has been charged with two counts of felony theft over $5,000 in Otter Tail County District Court.

According to court records, an Otter Tail County sheriff's office detective took reports from representatives of College Way Auto and Egge Construction involving catalytic converter thefts on Feb. 23. In each of those reports, the suspect was seen on an early '90s model Polaris snowmobile.

A deputy located the same snowmobile tracks and boot tracks next to a vehicle at a pallet business on the north side of Erhard. The vehicle also had its catalytic converter stolen.

Upon further investigation by the sheriff's office, it was revealed that Dillion had a connection with a scrap dealer, Twin Pines Recycling, in Wolverton.

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The owner of Twin Pines told a detective that he knew Dillon, and that he purchased two to three catalytic converters from Dillon on a weekly basis and that he was on the way to the business to sell catalytic converters that day.

When Dillon arrived at the business, he removed two catalytic converters.

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Dillon eventually admitted to stealing the catalytic converters and further stated he stole approximately 180 to 200 catalytic convertors over the past several years. He also stated that he sold all but a few to Twin Pines and received approximately $40,000.

Dillon also admitted to stealing catalytic converters from College Way Auto, the Pelican Rapids impound lot, Egge Construction, a vehicle near the Pelican Rapids High School and approximately 10 from Roger Schleske.

Court records indicated that Dillon admitted to cutting off the catalytic converter on his girlfriend's car. All of the catalytic converter thefts occurred in Otter Tail County. Sale records from January 2021 to January 2022 indicated Dillion sold 155 catalytic converters and 69 car batteries and was paid $54,620.

The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office says that investigators are working through dozens of theft reports in hopes of matching up thefts to area victims. The majority of these thefts appear to be taken from vehicles from Pelican Rapids to Fergus Falls, along with several county businesses.

The sheriff's office stated the investigation is still ongoing.

(c)2022 the Fergus Falls Daily Journal (Fergus Falls, Minn.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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