String of misconduct at mechanic shop, authorities warn

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Posted at 12:02 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 13:02:49-04

TITUS COUNTY, Texas — The Titus County Sheriff's Office reported Thursday about a series of investigations of suspicious thefts and suspicious usage that have repeatedly occurred at a single repair shop from customers' vehicles.

The Beetle Shop, located at 565 CR 2430 at the intersection of F.M. 899 has allegedly committed misconduct with several of patrons' cars, officials warned.

Authorities stated their first investigation began around April 26 when a customer of the Beetle Shop reported their catalytic converter was stolen and replaced with a section of an exhaust pipe after having it serviced by the shop, despite not having or seeking exhaust-related problems with their car.

The second investigation was opened after a patron alleged their vehicle, equipped with a GPS tracker, showed several thousands of miles of usage of their odometer. Because of their tracker, the vehicle was located and was determined to have been driven by a man believed to be a mechanic of the shop, Michael Ray Whitaker, of Titus County.

On Wednesday, authorities received another claim regarding the same service shop about a past customer's catalytic converter being stolen and replaced with another pipe. Authorities said the third investigation is ongoing.

Officials arrested Whitaker, 52, on Thursday on grounds of felony indictment for these thefts. Whitaker is currently awaiting arraignment by a magistrate at the Titus County Jail.

Officials noted in a statement that they would not typically report on information about business operations in the county, but made an exception due to the repeated offenses stemming from the Beetle Shop.