Caterpillar, police bust theft ring operating inside Texas engine plant

321123006061_1_0_1A recent investigation at Caterpillar’s Seguin, Texas plant led to nine felony arrests after the company, with the help of local police and the Texas Rangers, discovered an organized crime ring operating inside the plant.

According to a report from the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise, the investigation began in August after a Caterpillar investigator contacted the Seguin Police Department about suspected large scale theft. A man in Houston had recently contacted Caterpillar to report that he had bought 107 diesel injectors for Cat’s C7 and C9 engines for only $12,000. The man feared the parts were stolen.

That number of injectors is valued at an estimated $83,000 and after running the serial numbers of the parts that the man provided, Cat was able to confirm the injectors were stolen from the Seguin plant.

The man who purchased the stolen injectors told Seguin detectives and Texas Ranger Joey Evans that he bought them from a man named Jesse Daniels, 32, of Luling. Investigators set up a meeting with Daniels, who did not work at the Cat plant, under the guise of buying another 100 injectors from him. They arrested him and were able to link three Cat employees to him through phone records.

From those arrests, investigators linked another five plant employees who were also helping Daniels. All were charged with organized criminal theft of property between $100,000 and $200,000. If convicted, the charges carry between five and 99 years in a state prison and a fine up to $10,000.

In all, $160,000 worth of injectors were recovered through the investigation, Seguin Detective Clint Halbardier said. Halbardier said the thefts likely began in July and if it weren’t for the man in Houston coming forward it’s unlikely the thefts would have come to light any time soon.

“Through our investigation it was determined that these eight individuals were stealing diesel injectors, which are about the size of a water bottle,” he told the Gazette. “They were hiding them on their persons, taking them out in their backpacks and lunch boxes. They were selling them to Daniels and he was then in turn selling them outright to other shop owners and companies.”

Investigators are still trying to piece together how Daniels organized the ring and recruited the employees.