Four charged with felony theft, racketeering

Officers from numerous local agencies and ALPR technology used to uncover scope of thefts.

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Four individuals are facing multiple felony theft charges for allegedly traveling through more than three cities in western Pennsylvania, including Slippery Rock, to steal catalytic converters back during November.

Slippery Rock University police have charged Kelvin Williams, Demetrius Williams, Jordan Klinefelter and Myracle Hall each with three counts of theft by unlawful taking and three counts of receiving stolen property. In court records, SRUPD alleged the four individuals cut three catalytic converters out of cars parked in the early morning of Nov. 21 at the East Lake Lot.

While investigating the thefts on SRU property, officers learned there were more victims in Slippery Rock Borough and that Cranberry Township detectives were investigating similar crimes that occurred in the Walmart parking lot in Cranberry the same day.

That investigation discovered that the four individuals rented two vehicles from an Enterprise Rental agency in Michigan around Nov. 19 before driving to Pennsylvania to target vehicles for their catalytic converters.

Both Kelvin and Demetrius Williams are from Detroit, Michigan while court records list Roseville, Mich. as home addresses for Hall and Klinefelter. Roseville is approximately 20 miles north of Detroit.

The criminal complaint states the four traveled with an unnamed fifth person, but they claim they were never involved and stayed at a hotel while the crimes took place.

Including theft charges, Cranberry Township police have also filed charges related to conspiracy and racketeering of corrupt organizations. Both are felonies.

In Cranberry Township, detectives received reports of individuals discovering their catalytic converters were cut sometime during the afternoon of Nov. 21.

In the affidavit for probable cause filed by Cranberry Township police, detectives state a witness was parked next to a vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot when they heard a grinding noise coming from the car next to them. The individual got out of their car to see what was happening when they observed a pair of legs under the parked vehicle. According to the witness, when the person made eye contact with the witness, they got into a dark SUV and drove off.

As detectives continued investigating the thefts in Cranberry Township, they were made aware of a police chase in Conway Borough that ended in a crash and the discovery of many catalytic converters.

Over in Conway Borough, police received a call regarding a road rage incident that began in New Sewickley around 2 p.m. In that incident, the caller said they were following two vehicles, including an SUV with a Michigan license plate toward Crows Run Road and PA Route 65.

When Conway police attempted to stop the silver Chevrolet Equinox, it took off at a high rate of speed while a second vehicle involved with the incident, a dark gray SUV, attempted to cut off the officer’s vehicle. In the affidavit, Conway police officers said they had to take evasive maneuvers to avoid that vehicle before continuing to pursue the Equinox down Route 65 South.

The SUV continued fleeing, swerving around traffic at a high rate of speed, where it made a sudden left turn toward 9th Street and almost rolled over before driving through the mulch bed at the Arby’s. As the SUV made its way onto Route 65 North, it jumped the median and continued onto Route 65 South.

As the pursuit reached speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour, officers from Baden Police Department joined the pursuit. The SUV made it a little more than two miles down Route 65 before running a red light at Route 65 and Logan Lane and crashing into the median, disabling the vehicle.

Right after the crash police allege both the female driver, later identified as Hall, and male passenger, Klinefelter ran from police. Both were apprehended shortly afterward. Officers found 24 catalytic converters inside.

Using the information from the Conway Borough Police, Cranberry Township detectives ran the license plate of the vehicle driven by Hall through software connected to automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) databases of Butler and surrounding counties. After pulling records of where the silver Equinox had been, police were able to identify the license plate of the dark gray SUV.

Ross Township Police located the SUV on Nov. 23, along with Kelvin Williams, Demetrius Williams and Hall. Hall posted bond for the police chase days prior.

Police discovered a pink backpack with a DeWalt saw and saw blades inside the vehicle.

The four individuals are facing similar theft charges in Grove City, along with charges filed by Cranberry Township and Slippery Rock University police. Charges for theft in Slippery Rock Borough should be filed by Monday, according to SRPD Chief Terry Fedokovitz.

Kelvin Williams and Klinefelter are being held in Butler County jail. Demetrius Williams and Hall have both posted bail.

Both of the Williams and Klinefelter are set to appear for a formal arraignment on Feb. 2 regarding the charges filed by Cranberry Township Hall.

Kelvin Williams and Klinefelter will appear in Slippery Rock on Feb. 3 for a preliminary hearing regarding the SRU thefts. Court dates have not been decided yet for Demetrius Williams and Hall.

UPDATED: Wednesday at 6:59 p.m.

Kelvin Williams’ and Jordan Klinefelter’s case out of Cranberry Township has moved to pre-trial discovery. Williams and Klinefelter both plead not guilty to charges filed by Slippery Rock University and Slippery Rock Borough police. At that time, Judge William O’Donnell did agree to reduce one of Klinefelter’s bonds from $50,000 to $25,000.

Joe is a senior communication major with a concentration in converged journalism. This is his first year with The Rocket as assistant news editor. Before joining The Rocket, Joe worked at Butler County Community College’s student newspaper along with a short-lived career as public affairs sergeant (along with many other assignments) with the United States Army. When not covering campus news, Joe spends his weekends with his fiancée and son in Slippery Rock.

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