The FBI recently indicted four men in what appears to be a particularly brazen string of cargo thefts in the Philadelphia area, the most notable of which included $234,474.80 worth of dimes taken from a truck parked at a Walmart.
The defendants, Rakiem Savage, Ronald Byrd, Haneef Palmer and Malik Palmer, allegedly carried out a string of heists beginning on March 1, 2023, and ending in July. The charges include conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, robbery which interferes with interstate commerce, theft from interstate shipments, theft of government money, possession of items from interstate shipment theft and aiding and abetting said crimes.
The indictment, sent to Overdrive from the FBI, details not only the heists, but the mens' efforts to offload and sell the stolen goods, which included televisions, beer and liquor, and frozen crab legs, shrimp and meat.
The FBI accused the men of carrying out the crimes with a white box truck bearing the Pennsylvania license plate ZVT-6600 to transport the stolen goods. Defendant Byrd acquired the truck on March 11, and by March 17 defendant Savage had used the truck to steal 60 cases of Jose Cuervo tequila from a trailer in Philadelphia, according to the FBI.
On April 1, all four defendants stole six Continental Refrigerators from a tractor-trailer using the same box truck, the FBI continued. Over the course of April, the FBI's indictment details the defendants sending messages trying to sell frozen shrimp and Samsung televisions, which they're accused of stealing.
It's the April 13 incident that made most headlines, however, when the men allegedly stole $234,474.80 worth of dimes, which would weigh about 10,000 pounds, from a tractor-trailer. Local media reported the truck was parked at a Walmart on Byberry road at the time of the theft. The FBI said it had records of the men texting each other links to an online "money weight calculator," which they could use to figure the value of the stolen dimes without counting them out.
The FBI said the men used Coinstar machines to get cash for thousands of dollars worth of dimes, but that defendant Palmer made multiple deposits of up to $1,500 in dimes to his own bank account.
On July 18, the FBI said the four men were found in possession of hundreds of dimes stolen on the April 13 heist. Philadelphia is home to one of the nation's largest mints.
According to the FBI, the robberies included threats of violence. The April 1 incident with the refrigerators heist, specifically, includes allegations that the defendants "unlawfully took and obtained, and aided and abetted the unlawful taking and obtaining of, six Continental Refrigerators, belonging to National Refrigeration & A/C and being transported by Catashov Inc., from an employee of Catashov Inc., against his will, by means of actual or threatened force, violence, and fear of injury, immediate and future to his person and property, that is, by grabbing him, carrying him, and forcing him underneath a box truck while unloading the stolen goods."
Catashov Inc.'s latest FMCSA filing lists them with 24 drivers and 24 power units, as a general freight interstate hauler. The indictment says the truck was a white Volvo VNL from 2020.
The dimes, the FBI wrote, came off a Freightliner with Indiana plates and a trailer with Maine plates.
Along with the criminal charges, the FBI served the defendants a notice of forfeiture, stating that they "shall forfeit" to the U.S. "any property, real or personal, that constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the commission of such violations, including, but not limited to" the dimes stolen, and anything they bought with it.