Catalytic converters: why they are stolen

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 7:17 PM EST
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Nitro Police were called out Monday to the Nitro Park and Ride for an attempted catalytic converter theft at the parking lot.

Police said three suspects were at the park and ride to sell catalytic converters. After a transaction, the suspects saw a truck and tried to steal its catalytic converter while a man was inside. Police said one of the three suspects tried to get under the truck to steal the catalytic converter.

Police say the man confronted one of the three suspects who got inside a Dodge truck and drove off with the others.

Later, West Virginia State Police troopers responded when the same car crashed just before the Scott Depot exit along Interstate 64 and the three suspects ran off.

State Police are looking for Travis Edmonds, who the Dodge truck was registered to and who is also wanted on felony charges out of Cabell and Putnam counties.

While the suspects were not able to steal the catalytic converter at the park and ride, nearby in the city of Dunbar, Police Chief Brian Oxley said they are seeing more thefts of these car parts.

“We had an uptick in thefts this summer. I think actually everybody around had an uptick for a while,” Oxley said.

He said catalytic converters are situated underneath a vehicle.

“You’d know if it was cut off because your car is going to make a very, very loud noise as soon as you start it up,” Oxley said.

He said at the Dunbar Police Department, they have seen trucks targeted, but catalytic converters could be stolen off any car.

“There is a precious metal that is inside it that is worth quite a bit of money. It’s the part that is attached to your muffler,” Oxley said. “The scrap metal recycling places will buy the metal that is inside of the catalytic converter.”

Chief Oxley said it’s hard to secure catalytic converters, and in order to avoid thefts, he said to be vigilant and observant.

“Park in lit areas, know your surroundings. Cameras with motion sensor lights, motion sensor cameras, those are really some of the best ways to protect yourself,” Oxley said.

State Police ask anyone with any information about the suspects to contact them or their local 911 center.

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