LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Louisville Metro Police detectives are investigating a case where they say at least 16 vans belonging to churches and daycare centers were stolen and then sold to a recycling facility.
According to Dwight Mitchell, a LMPD spokesperson, the thefts happened in the past month and a half. Detectives have arrested two people and charged them with eight counts each of receiving stolen property over $500.
Renita Dudley and Frankie Parker are accused of the crime, but Mitchell said officers may be looking for as many as four additional people that could be involved.
Mitchell said each van was bought by ISA Recycling for about $430.
"I would have felt better if we caught it, but it fell through the cracks," said Brian Donaghy, recycling president of Industrial Services of America. "These guys were smart in how they did it."
Donaghy, who said the vans were sold at their Campground Road facility, told us they have a number of checkpoints and guidelines they follow before a person is paid money for a car or any other material. He said a person is asked to fill out an extensive form, which asks personal information and car information. The person's picture is taken, as well as a picture of the material, and a fingerprint is needed. All of the information is put into a national database, which Donaghy says checks to see if the car is stolen. But in each of these 16 cases, there weren't any red flags.
"At all four of our locations, we have over 800 transactions a day and we try to monitor every transaction to make sure that we're not participating in the purchase of stolen scrap," Donaghy said.
Donaghy said their employees are trained and will turn someone away if they believe the person is trying to sell the company a stolen item. He said employees are trained to look for certain things.
"This was just something that go missed because these guys did it over a period of time and, you know, it wasn't caught," said Donaghy. "As you can see, a lot of business is coming in here, we've got a lot of companies that we deal with and it's kinda one bad apple kinda spoils the barrel for the day."
It is unclear why the vans did not come up in the database as stolen vehicles. This case is still under investigation. If you have any information, call the LMPD Crime Tip Line at 574-LMPD (5673).
Donaghy said ISA plans to provide additional training for its employees to help prevent something like this from happening again.