NWGA Scanner | March 18th, 2021

Catalytic converter thefts rising throughout the area, churches, ambulances, funeral homes among victims

According to several area law enforcement reports, catalytic converter thieves are continuing to steal. Thieves have targeted several vehicles included ambulances, church van, funeral home vehicles and more. Dade County Sheriff’s Office posted that several local churches have been victimized by thieves in the past weeks; catalytic converters were removed from church vans and other businesses in the county. Walker County has also reported seeing a large increase in catalytic converter thefts. According to Rome Police incident reports, seven trucks at Flowers Bakery Store Street along with two ambulances noticed the converters missing, between March 1 and March 4. Thieves extract the palladium, rhodium and platinum from the catalytic converters, which are used to filter and clean up auto emissions. Because they contain those metals, catalytic converters can be worth hundreds of dollars when sold to scrap dealers and recyclers, and each one costs up to $1,500 to replace. Stricter car emissions rules have contributed to the rise in thefts. According to Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office incident reports, on March 1st, 2021 received a phone call from a victim who reported that someone stole the catalytic converter on the company van in the night. The business owner stated that this happened on a ford truck about three weeks ago. The business address was listed as 3618 Chatsworth Highway Shutter Company. On March 4th, 2021 at approximately 8:39 AM, a deputy was advised to place a phone call in reference to a theft. The victim stated on Sunday February 21st, 2021 he was washing the Riverbend Church of Christ’s bus and preparing it for the youth trip to Gatlinburg. The victim stated when he cranked the church bus and the bus’s exhaust sounded loud and terrible. The victim then exited the bus and noticed there was metal shavings on the ground and the catalytic converter was missing. The victim estimated the catalytic converter at approximately 1,500 dollars. Last month the Summerville Police Department took several catalytic converter theft reports. surveillance cameras caught an individual stealing the catalytic converter off of a company vehicle at Mason Funeral Home. Investigator Brian Ozment said that an individual parked their vehicle next to the funeral home’s Ford Ecoline van around 3:30 a.m., cut off the catalytic converter and left the area. These high prices have fueled the black market of stolen catalytic converters, which can be sawed off of a car in minutes and then sold for a huge profit at scrap yards. Anyone with information regarding theses catalytic converter thefts or thieves should call local law enforcement.