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  • Catalytic converter thieves

    How I wish that we could equip our property with enough electrical volts that would fry someone when they attempt to break into it.


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    Catalytic converter thieves strike area parking lots
    By Heather Ratcliffe
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/26/2005

    The deafening growl nearly scared Barbara Berry to death.

    Her co-worker jumped, as well, as she walked through the company parking lot in Fenton.

    Berry had turned the key in her 2003 Ford Escape. And out came the vile sound.

    "It was just horrendous," Berry said. "It reminded me of a Sherman tank. I thought maybe my muffler had a hole in it."

    It was the next day that a mechanic at her dealership laughed when he looked under the SUV. Then he gave her the surprising bad news.

    Thieves had cut the catalytic converter off her vehicle.

    Police say this particular crime is on the rise as more thieves discover the value of the hot part and learn how to dismantle it.

    Thieves have taken at least 17 converters from cars in St. Louis and St. Louis County and in St. Charles County since June. They have hit cars parked at hospitals, large companies or commuter parking lots.

    Detectives believe the culprits are selling the parts to junkyards or auto parts stores to support drug habits.

    Each part can bring $45 to $60 on the black market, said St. Louis County police Sgt. Tim Silver.

    Replacing the converter, however, costs vehicle owners and their insurance companies more than $1,000.

    "If they need money that bad, I wished I could have just given them some instead of them ruining my car," said Berry, 60, of Imperial.

    A catalytic converter is a device that helps to reduce emissions by treating exhaust before it leaves the car.

    The inside components of the catalytic converter are usually made with several precious metals - platinum, rhodium and palladium - that can be valuable to scrap dealers.

    Other car parts that have attracted thieves in the past include air bags and wheels, police said.

    But the catalytic converter is easily accessible and can be sawed off the exhaust system in a few minutes. Victims often discover the part missing when they turn on the car or see the muffler hanging on the ground, police said.

    A 24-year-old woman from Imperial thought her muffler broke when she noticed it hanging off her Jeep Cherokee in a commuter parking lot in south St. Louis County on July 15.

    Her mechanic told her the catalytic converter was stolen, and he replaced the part.

    The first time she drove the Jeep back to the commuter lot about two weeks later, the thieves struck again.

    She returned that night to find the muffler dragging on the ground a second time.

    "I threw my keys and started yelling, I was so mad," said the woman, who asked not to be named. "I'm paranoid to park my car anywhere now."

    Replacing the catalytic converter twice cost the woman about $2,000. St. Louis County police were following several leads in the case.

    Jeff Werner, 35, of Oakville, lost his catalytic converter after parking his Jeep Liberty at the commuter lot on Reavis Barracks Road and Interstate 55 several weeks ago.

    He immediately drove his noisy SUV to the nearest Chrysler dealer and called police.

    "I coaxed it along and took back roads," Werner said. "It was pretty embarrassing."

    The incident cost Werner the deductible on his insurance.

    "That was $250 that I would have rather blown on my kids," he said. "It aggravates the heck out of me. I would much rather they steal the whole car."

    Werner will reluctantly park again at the commuter lot. But he hopes his fellow commuters will keep a better watch on the lot.

    "With gas prices so high, everybody encourages you to carpool," he said. "What else can I do?"

    Reporter Heather Ratcliffe
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Phone: 314-863-2821
    Make America Great For Once.

  • #2
    Somebody's bound to get capped for this...Rock salt in the ass might get someone's attn., but have your car insured by Smith & Wesson, policy #.44!

    [img]http://rds.yahoo.com/S=96062883/K=smith+%26+wesson+.44+magnum/v=2/SID=e/TID=I053_87/l=IVI/SIG=12lbjiljo/EXP=1125241404/*-http%3A//www.webmaestru.net/documents/629/smith&wesson329PD.jpg[/img]

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm all for using a weapon to defend your personal property.

      It sure would create less crowding in jail.
      Make America Great For Once.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Kev@Aug 27 2005, 02:09 PM
        I'm all for using a weapon to defend your personal property.

        It sure would create less crowding in jail.

        and to save on land space, mandatory cremations for dead thieves!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jack Daniels+Aug 27 2005, 03:12 PM-->
          QUOTE(Jack Daniels @ Aug 27 2005, 03:12 PM)

        • #6
          Speaking of defending personal property, a couple of years ago, my cousin went to a grocery store that had workers striking.

          When he came back to his car, a picketer was trying to let the air out of his tires. My cousin gave him a swift kick upside his head. Later, the police said my cousin was justified and let him off.
          RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
          You'll never be forgotten.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by JWB@Aug 27 2005, 03:17 PM
            Speaking of defending personal property, a couple of years ago, my cousin went to a grocery store that had workers striking.

            When he came back to his car, a picketer was trying to let the air out of his tires. My cousin gave him a swift kick upside his head. Later, the police said my cousin was justified and let him off.

            Good for the cop and your cousin.
            Make America Great For Once.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by The Kev+Aug 27 2005, 02:20 PM-->
              QUOTE(The Kev @ Aug 27 2005, 02:20 PM)
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