Anthony Keith Cumbee, 32, of Anniston, was charged with 10 counts of ownership documentation required, a felony, according to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Larry Amerson said his office was contacted earlier this month by the LaGrange, Ga., Police Department about an investigation involving 600 catalytic converters, a pollution reduction device placed in cars, stolen from a Kia Manufacturing plant.
Amerson said the 600 converters reported stolen were valued at $250,000.
Through an investigation, deputies discovered 10 transactions involving new catalytic converters took place at Red Hot Recycling on U.S. 78 in Anniston.
Amerson said recycling records show the suspect sold 1,054 catalytic converters to Red Hot Recycling and he was paid $50,000.
The sheriff said it is unlawful for secondary metal recyclers to purchase converters that are not part of a motor vehicle without documentation of proof of ownership. Cumbee, a Red Hot Recycling employee, did not receive proof of ownership for the parts he purchased, Amerson said.
The man who sold the parts to Red Hot Recycling was not apprehended as of this afternoon. Amerson said the suspect is believed to be from Roanoke and deputies were still investigating the case.
Keith Fortenberry, owner of Fortenberry’s Recycling in Piedmont, said catalytic converters are mainly made out of platinum. Fortenberry said his business used to buy a lot of them until the law required proof of ownership.
“Now you need to have a mechanic’s license,” Fortenberry said.
The parts are usually purchased between $7 and $200, Fortenberry said, depending on what type of vehicle the converter came from. Foreign car manufacturers, he said, use more platinum than American-made cars so their converters are worth more.
Cumbee was released Wednesday from the Calhoun County Jail on a $100,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for May 23.
Staff Writer Rachael Griffin: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RGriffin_Star.