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Columbus man who operated catalytic converter theft ring sentenced to prison

Tommy Cox was sentenced after pleading guilty to 15 felonies in connection with a string of catalytic converter thefts in Columbus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus man was sentenced to at least eight years in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to 15 felonies in connection with a string of catalytic converter thefts.

Tommy Cox, 42, was given the sentence of eight to 12 years in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. If he does not make parole after eight years, he would have to serve an additional four years.

Cox was arrested in March 2022 and charged with 32 felony counts connected to the theft ring that stretched multiple counties. Law enforcement made the arrest following a nine-month investigation. 

Police say the crimes stretched from Franklin, Fairfield, Licking, Muskingum and Morrow counties.

RELATED: Police: Columbus man exploits loophole in Ohio law to steal 1,100+ catalytic converters

According to the Franklin County Prosecutors Office, Cox pleaded guilty to a number of crimes including violation of the metal scrapping law, possession of criminal tools, receiving stolen property, engaging in a patter of corrupt activity and weapons under disability.

Police said Cox was allegedly paying people to cut catalytic converters as well as stealing them himself.

Cox was able to find some of his victims using an Apple Airtag, a $30 piece of technology that people may use to track their kids, pets or valuables. He would allegedly place the tracking device under someone's car and wait for them to park at another location. 

Police said Cox's home in south Columbus was heavily surrounded by surveillance cameras, and he used them to help escape capture at least once.

When Franklin County SWAT did catch Cox and his girlfriend, they found 24 catalytic converters inside his home along with guns and a credit card-making machine.

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