Car repair

East Texas auto repair shop accused of stealing catalytic converters from customers

TITUS COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Titus County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public after several customers at a local auto repair shop reported faults including stolen catalytic converters and misuse of their vehicles .

On April 26, TCSO conducted several investigations related to suspicious thefts and the use of several customers’ vehicles after dropping them off at a local mechanic called Beetle Shop at 565 CR 2430 at the intersection of FM 899.

In the first case, a customer had left a vehicle with the Beetle Shop for repairs unrelated to the exhaust system. The customer later discovered that the catalytic converters had been stolen from his vehicle and had been replaced with a section of an exhaust pipe, officials said.

In the second case, a customer left a vehicle at the Beetle Shop for repair. Officials said the customer’s vehicle had GPS tracking and an investigation revealed that several thousand miles had been added to the odometer driven by an alleged mechanic named Michael Ray Whitaker, a 52-year-old man from Titus County.

Deputies arrested Whitaker at this time for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Then nearly a month later, on May 25, the TCSO received another complaint from a customer who had left his vehicle at the Beetle Shop for repairs. The third customer allegedly discovered that the catalytic converters had been stolen from the vehicle and that some type of replacement pipe had been installed where the converters were.

Whitaker was arrested by TCSO deputies on Thursday as part of an indictment for alleged theft. He was taken to the Titus County Jail where he awaits arraignment.

“The Titus County Sheriff’s Office would not normally release information about how businesses operate in Titus County; in this case, we believe it is imperative to raise awareness of repeat vehicle violations from customers who leave their vehicles at the Beetle Shop for repair,” TCSO said in a Facebook post.

TSCO said the investigation is still ongoing.