From staff reports
Four men recently were sentenced to prison for their roles in a conspiracy that trafficked in stolen vehicles, backhoes, steel, scrap metal and other objects -- including items stolen in Streetsboro and Twinsburg -- through a chop shop and a scrap-metal yard in Cleveland, according to Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI's Cleveland office.
Lindsey Blackmon, 48, of Cleveland, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, or nearly five years, by U.S. District Judge John Adams.
Nayyir Mahdi, aka "Willie Jones," 42, of Shaker Heights, was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay $22,184 in restitution. Curtis Wilder, 43, of Bedford Heights, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $346,845 in restitution.
Gilbert Evans, 48, of Cleveland, was sentenced to 16 months in prison, while Mark Brown, 46, also of Cleveland, was sentenced to one day in jail followed by eight months of home confinement. Davies Pierce, of Cleveland, is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
"These defendants ended up with semi-trucks or pickups that were stolen from parking lots and other places," Dettelbach said. "This conspiracy included thefts in Warrensville Heights, Willoughby, Mentor, Euclid, Elyria and a slew of other locations."
"Stealing and selling stolen vehicles and cargo comes with a price of incarceration," Anthony said. "The FBI and our Organized Crime Task Force partners will continue our efforts to detect and dismantle these illegal enterprises which negatively impact our economy and our citizens."
Mahdi operated Express Metals on East 152nd Street and, before that, at 14915 Woodworth Ave., both in Cleveland, and was in the business of selling scrapped metal. Blackmon obtained a location at 19210 Miles Road, Warrensville Heights, Ohio, to be used as a chop shop. Pierce owned and operated Duffy's Towing at 7810 Colfax Road and salvaged autos for scrap metal, according to court documents.
Wilder, John Jones and others broke into and stole motor vehicles throughout northeast Ohio, according to the FBI. Between June 2011 and March 2012, they brought the stolen vehicles to Brown, Pierce and Mahdi. The vehicle identification numbers were then removed from the vehicles, parts were stripped from the vehicle and sold, and the rest of the vehicles were crushed and sold for scrap, according to court documents.
Some of the co-conspirators brought stolen vehicles to Brown, who stripped the autos of parts, including rims and catalytic converters, before towing the vehicles to Pierce's shop on Colfax Road, where they were destroyed and scrapped, according to court documents.
Blackmon and others would spot and steal loads of cargo after truck drivers parked their rigs. The tractor, trailer and loads of cargo were then brought to Express Metals, operated by Mahdi, and to Pierce's scrap yard, where the stolen cargo was broken down, according to court documents.
On March 4, 2012, Blackmon, Evans, Brown and others possessed a shipment of steel coils worth about $120,000 that were stolen from a Ramada Inn in Elyria. The steel was being shipped to Michigan from Twinsburg, according to court documents.
One month earlier, Blackmon, Pierce, Brown and others possessed steel beams worth $18,700, a 2007 Kenworth semi-truck and a 2005 Eagle flatbed which had been stolen in the vicinity of Streetsboro, while being used in interstate commerce between Twinsburg and Virginia, according to court documents.
Nine others were indicted on related charges in state court. This case followed an investigation by the FBI's Organized Crime Task Force, which includes the FBI, Ohio Highway Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Cleveland Police Department.