Three Philadelphia men have been charged with stealing power tools from work trucks and vans throughout the Philadelphia suburbs.

Matthew Suarez, Nicholas Suarez, and Donald Hodum allegedly stole power tools from vehicles in Montgomery, Delaware and Chester Counties over the course of several months, Then they resold them.

The three men are charged with a total of 197 counts of theft by unlawful taking, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Whitemarsh Township Police Chief T. Michael Beaty announced Monday.

The value of the tools stolen by each defendant ranges from $22,546 to $72,464, Ferman said.

Whitemarsh police began investigating thefts of power tools last September. Their investigation grew as similar thefts were reported in other townships.

Most of the thefts were committed by using a screwdriver to punch the locks on the vehicles, police said.

Police identified some of the stolen power tools after they had been resold. They used cell phone records to link the three men to locations near the reported thefts.

Matthew Suarez was arrested in October and pleaded guilty to theft. He has since been charged with additional thefts. Nicholas Suarez was arrested in December and is awaiting a pre-trial conference in his case. He has also been charged with additional thefts. Hodum was arrested on March 12.

All three men are scheduled to appear in court for preliminary hearings on Monday.

- Laura McCrystal