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Cat burglar: City sees strange trend of catalytic converter thefts, Dodge owners beware
For the past five weeks, residents of The Colony have fallen victim to a series of strange thefts throughout the city, according to police.
The Colony Police Department has received reports of catalytic converters thefts from Dodge diesel pickup trucks throughout the city. Thieves are targeting vehicles that are model years 2008 and newer models and the converters have been taken while vehicles are unoccupied, as thieves are using saws to dismantle the entire converter system, said Darren Brockway, public information officer for TCPD.
"We've got people crawling under parked Dodge Pickups and stealing the Catalytic Converter systems," he said. "The converter systems cost about $5,000 to replace," he said. "So you can see the draw to steal and re-sale them."
As of March 12, six Dodge trucks have fallen victim to this type of theft within the city. The thefts are not confined to any particular area, and the only common denominator in the occurrences is the make, model and year of the vehicle.
"We had a few cases of catalytic converter thefts a couple of years ago, but they were random makes and models," Brockway said. "This particular trend is a first. Most of these types of theft are done for the scrap metal resale values, especially the converter systems that contain platinum."
Johnny Leavell, manager at David's Automotive Repair, said the process of removing the converters with a saw would not create a lot of noise, nor are the converters very heavy once removed.
"It takes [the average mechanic] a little over an hour and a half [to remove them]," he said. "If they aren't using a welder - or whatever they use to remove it - and using a saw instead, it would take about a half hour, if that."
The converter systems are difficult to track because of the lack of unique number identification on them, Brockway said.
"We have found websites that will buy these types of converter systems for $500 no questions asked," he said. "These are out of state, don't have a physical listed address, and usually are not regulated. We do believe more than one person is involved. We also have a lead, but I will not elaborate because we actually want to catch these guys."
Most of the thefts have occurred during the night while the vehicle is parked on the street or in driveways. The thefts are also taking place in other cities and at car dealerships. Residents are cautioned to take preventative measures, such as parking vehicles in a garage and reporting any suspicious activity to police.
Anyone with information pertaining to the thefts is asked to contact the Criminal Investigations Division at 972-625-8273.