PITTSBURGH A Florida man has been accused of three felonies for his alleged role in a cargo theft scheme that netted more than $836,000 in scrap metal and finished steel products.
OmniSource Corp. and Rea Magnet Wire Co. Inc., both of Fort Wayne, Ind., were the victims of sophisticated heists in which criminals posed as legitimate truckers, picked up cargoes and diverted them from their final destinations, according to law enforcement officials.
OmniSource lost some $540,414 worth of material, including 20,000 pounds of No. 1 heavy copper chops, 44,000 pounds of bare bright copper chops and 44,000 pounds of tin-plated punching/red brass borings, according to records obtained from Indianas Allen County Superior Court. Rea Magnet lost about $296,413 worth of material, including 78,685 pounds of magnetic wire. The stolen material has yet to be located.
Roberto M. Gonzalez of Hialeah, Fla., has been accused of corrupt business influence and two counts of theft in excess of $100,000. Gonzalez is believed to be part of a larger organization that conducted such heists throughout the country between late October and early December 2012, according to investigators. Two other men are being sought.
The Fort Wayne police became involved when they were asked to investigate OmniSource cargo thefts in November. At the time, it was revealed that a similar event occurred at OmniSources Toledo, Ohio, facility (amm.com, Nov. 12).
Rea Magnet contacted police the following month to report two cargo thefts. Investigators watching video footage quickly recognized that the same tractorsa blue and white Freightliner and a customized yellow Kenworth truckhad been used in both incidents.
The Fort Wayne crime lab analyzed one of the shipping documents and lifted the fingerprints of suspects Dairan Calderon and Yasmel Encarnacion, who are now being pursued. OmniSource employees were able to identify the two from photographs.
Neither OmniSource nor Rea Magnet could be reached for comment.