PITTSBURGH The owner of Mulberry, Fla.-based T&M Salvage Inc. and three employees have been accused of theft and dealing in stolen property.
An investigation began in April when three men charged with stealing 77 citrus trailers since 2010 told law enforcement officials that they sold several of the trailers to T&M Salvage, which also does business as T&M Iron & Metals (amm.com, April 15).
Polk County Sheriffs Office said this week that it had arrested Adelina McCulley, owner of T&M Salvage, business manager Clarence McCulley, metal buyer Bernhard Powell and scale operator John Richmond and charged them with unlawful purchase of a motor vehicle, grand theft and organized dealing in stolen property. Clarence McCulley also was charged with one count of selling or transferring a motor vehicle without a title.
Florida state law requires metal recyclers to obtain proof of ownership when purchasing motor vehicles, but the Polk County Sheriffs Office claimed that business records at T&M referred to the purchases as unprepared steel.
The recycler said it had no comment on the matter.
The Polk County Sheriffs Office has been investigating a rash of stolen trailers and got its first break in the case when a vehicle equipped with a tracking device was stolen. The investigation is ongoing.