Florida Men Arrested With Stolen Catalytic Converters
Two Port St. Lucie officers announced the arrests of two men with 13 stolen catalytic converters. It was the most stolen catalytic converters ever recovered by the department at one time, according to police. The issue underscores a growing threat to American drivers involving catalytic converter thefts. Indeed, the issue has become a growing concern for law enforcement across the country. While catalytic converters may not be the sexiest auto part you can think of, they do actually contain trace amounts of precious metals such as platinum and palladium. Thieves can sell the precious metals and recover about $200 per stolen converter. However, the amount of damage done to the vehicle is far in excess of $200 which is why the thieves aren’t using their own catalytic converters for this scheme.
How were the suspects caught?
They were driving behind a business looking fairly out of place when they were approached by police who asked them what they were doing. The vehicle’s passenger was completely covered in mud and sweating profusely. While questioning the individuals, police noticed a catalytic converter. They then found 12 more. Eight of the catalytic converters had been stolen from a local pet shop. The men have been charged with 13 counts of burglary to a vehicle, grand theft, and criminal mischief.
Police say that they’ve investigated 29 criminal complaints related to catalytic converter theft this year. They say that catalytic converter theft remains a major problem for American drivers and unscrupulous scrap yards will purchase the stolen converters with no questions asked.
Police advise the public to weld their catalytic converters onto their vehicles to make their vehicles a harder target. They believe that the success of such a crime relies on removing the catalytic converters quickly and then moving on to the next one. Welded catalytic converters take longer to remove and thus are not soft targets. Since speed is of the essence, the public can protect itself by forcing the potential thief to choose an easier target.
Crimes related to catalytic converter theft
Burglary is a tricky crime. While you tend to think of burglars targeting homes, burglary only involves potential dwelling spaces. That means that your vehicle, a telephone booth, or a shed can constitute a dwelling for the purpose of a burglary-related crime. Burglary only involves the forcible access of a restricted space for the purpose of committing a crime.
Burglaries can be charged as either first-, second-, or third-degree felonies. In cases where there is no assault or battery, burglary is generally charged as a third-degree felony with a potential 5 year sentence. However, every catalytic converter equals one burglary charge. So the numbers will work against the defendants in this case.
Talk to a Port St. Lucie Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Eighmie Law Firm represents those who have been charged with crimes in Port St. Lucie. Call our Port St. Lucie criminal lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.