2nd Arrest in Northeast Philly Propane Tank Thefts That Launched Counter-Terrorism Investigation

Philadelphia Police nabbed a second man wanted in connection with the thefts of several dozen industrial propane tanks from two locations in Northeast Philadelphia.

A week after police arrested 49-year-old Stephan Williams, investigators announced charges against 38-year-old John Ploucher. Both men hail from the 4500 block of Richmond Street.

Police didn't reveal how they wound up arresting Ploucher Tuesday. One week earlier, their investigation led them to a lot on the 2600 block of Wheatsheaf Lane, where they found two vehicles as well as several tanks.

The theft of the tanks last month sparked a counter-terrorism probe. Police said 43 tanks were stolen Dec. 16 and Dec. 17 from Praxair at 2300 Church Street in Frankford and James Morrissey Inc. at 4720 Pennypack Street in the Holmesburg section of the city.

The surveillance video of the theft shows a man loading tanks of various sizes into a dark-colored minivan.

Twenty-four of the tanks are said to be the size and style used to fuel forklifts, sources said. Also taken were nine tanks that hold 100 pounds of fuel, four 50-pound tanks, four 33-pound tanks and two two-pound tanks, according to law-enforcement sources.

Ploucher and Williams both face burglary, criminal trespass, conspiracy, criminal mischief and related offenses, said court records. Both men, represented by public defenders remained behind bars unable to post bail Wednesday.

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