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Stakeout at South Shore commuter lot works: Couple nabbed as catalytic-converter thieves

Platinum couple MBTA Transit Police report arresting a Fall River couple on charges they stole catalytic converters off cars parking in commuter lots in Hanson and Halifax last night.

Dennis and Tina Fager, 39 and 37, were only charged with the three catalytic converters police found them with, but said they could be responsible for as many as 100 converter grabs on the South Shore.

Police say detectives who had staked out the Hanson commuter-rail parking lot due to a spate of recent converter thefts spotted the couple drive into the lot around 4:15 p.m. yesterday, just after an inbound train departed the station:

They were observed driving in between unattended parked cars. They were also observed stopping briefly between cars, exiting the truck, looking around in a suspicious manner, re-enter their truck and continued driving around the parking lot. They stopped their vehicle behind Detective Conway who observed the female, identified as Tina Fager, stand up on the door jam and look around the parking lot as the male, identified as Dennis Fager, ducked down below the truck and out of view. Moments later, Detective Conway heard sounds consistent with metal being cut with a power tool as well as the sound of metal hitting the ground. Shortly after, Detective Conway heard the sound consistent with the sound of a heavy a metallic object being dropped into the back of the pick-up truck.

Dennis and Tina Fager both got back into the truck and drove to a different location and began to repeat their behavior as Tina Fager was observed by Detectives Sean Conway and T.J. Leonard acting in an suspicious manner consistent with being a "look out." Detective Conway observed Dennis Fager again, duck down between cars. Based on their observations, Detective T.J. Leonard approached Tina Fager, Detective Conway approached Dennis Fager. The suspects were arrested after Detective Conway and Detective Leonard observed the catalytic converters in the pick-up truck Dennis Fager was operating with Tina Fager who was a passenger and acting as a "look out." The truck had a cover over the bed of the truck and the tail gate was down allowing the detectives a plain view of the three catalytic converters as well as a battery operated reciprocating saw.

Police say Tina Fager admitted the two other converters in the back of their pickup came from cars at Halifax station.

They were scheduled for arraignment in Plymouth District Court today. Police say the converters, which can be sawed off in less than two minutes, are increasingly attractive to thieves due to the value of the platinum they contain. Converters can cost up to $1,000 to replace.

This is at least a second arrest for Dennis Fager on converter-theft charges. In 2008, he was arrested for allegedly stealing catalytic converters off cars parked at the East Bridgewater YMCA.

State records show Fager had prior experience with pipes - he had a license as an apprentice plumber through 2006.

Innocent, etc.

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