TITUS COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Titus County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public after several customers from a local car repair shop reported misconduct including stolen catalytic converters and misuse of their vehicles.
On April 26, TCSO conducted several investigations related to suspicious thefts and usage of several customers’ vehicles after they left them at a local mechanic called Beetle Shop at 565 CR 2430 at the intersection of FM 899.
In the first instance, a customer had left a vehicle at Beetle Shop for repairs unrelated to the exhaust system. The customer later discovered that the catalytic converters had been stolen from their vehicle and were replaced with a section of an exhaust pipe, officials said.
In the second instance, a customer left a vehicle at the Beetle Shop for repairs. According to officials, the customer’s vehicle had GPS tracking and an investigation found that several thousand miles were added to the odometer driven by a purported mechanic by the name of Michael Ray Whitaker, a 52-year-old from Titus County.
Deputies arrested Whitaker at that time for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Then almost a month later on May 25, the TCSO received another complaint from a customer who had left their vehicle at the Beetle Shop for repairs. The third customer allegedly found that the catalytic converters had been stolen from the vehicle and some type of replacement pipe had been installed where the converters had been.
Whitaker was arrested by the TCSO deputies on Thursday on a felony indictment for the alleged theft. He was taken to the Titus County Jail where he is waiting for arraignment.
“Titus County Sheriff’s Office would not normally post information regarding how businesses operate in Titus County however; in this case, we believe there is a compelling need to make the public aware of the repetitive offenses related to customers’ vehicles who leave their vehicles at the Beetle Shop for repairs,” said TCSO in a Facebook post.
TSCO said that the investigation is still ongoing.