47-year-old Adena man arrested for Barnesville area thefts

Special to the Enterprise

A lengthy investigation into catalytic converter thefts at a park and ride in Barnesville has led to the arrest of an Adena man.

"In 2020, we started getting a rash of catalytic converter thefts, and it all began with either disabled vehicles left alongside the interstate or vehicles left at park and rides, in particular the park and ride at the Barnesville exit," said Lt. Maurice Waddell of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

OSHP then set up surveillance cameras, which were able to capture an image of the suspect and their vehicle.

"Recently, one of the troopers here at the St. Clairsville post made a stop on that vehicle, recognized some of those indicators we saw on surveillance, and we forwarded that info on to our investigative section," Waddell said.

OSHP recently executed multiple search warrants on Hanna Avenue in Adena, where a  47-year-old male resident was arrested for alleged felony theft.

OSHP seized several catalytic converters, tools, cash, drug paraphernalia and a firearm.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and Smithfield Township Police assisted.

“Within our district, we've had several thefts of catalytic converters, so I would say he's one of the people responsible for those thefts, but he's not the only one responsible for every one within the Ohio Valley," Waddell said.

The question is, why most of the state's park and rides lack surveillance cameras?

“With the park and rides, we have hundreds of those throughout the state, and for us to put them up at all of those, it would be costly and also the purpose of those cameras are strictly for traffic monitoring, there is no mechanism or technology to recognize faces or license plates," ODOT spokesperson Lauren Borell said.

OSHP urges drivers to be aware of suspicious activity at the park and rides and along roadways.