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Suspect arrested for Northeast Philly propane tank thefts

The theft of hundreds of pounds of propane led law enforcement to seek assistance from counter-terrorism officials.
Stephan Williams, inset, is charged with the thefts that sparked a counterterrorism aPPD

A man has been charged with the theft of more than 40 tanks of propane gas that sparked a counter-terrorism probe.

Stephan Whitney, 49, of the 4500 block of Richmond Street, is charged with burglary, criminal trespass and other charges for the incidents earlier this month, police announced Wednesday.

RELATED:VIDEO: New footage of propane theft that started terrorism probe

Whitney is believed to be connected to three propane thefts. Surveillance footage of one robbery shows a thief climbing a 6-foot razor-topped fence, police said, before throwing tanks back over the fence.

The theft of high quantities of propane gasled police to contact Department of Homeland Security officials for assistance in the investigation that included the following incidents:

-Dec. 16,10:24 p.m.:12 propane fork lift tanks, four40-pound propane tanks, four60-poundpropane tanks and four100-poundpropane tanks, valued at $4,800, were stolen from Phax-Air on the 2300 block of Church Street.

-Between Dec. 16 and Dec. 17: Five100-poundpropane tanks, four33-poundpropane tanks and two20-poundpropane tanks, valued at approximately $3,000, were stolen from James D. Morrissey Inc. on the 4700 block of Pennypack Street.

-Dec. 22, 1:42 a.m.: A suspect broke intoPhax-air by climbing what police described as a "razor-topped" fence, then threw the tanks back over. Six acetylene tanks were stolen.

The investigation is still ongoing, police said.

 

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