LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – During a traffic stop overnight, Michigan State Police troopers found five stolen catalytic converters, tools and cocaine and fentanyl in Bath Township. It’s an example of what insurers are calling a national trend of catalytic converter thefts.
Lt. Brian Oleksyk said there’s a reason people go for these car parts specifically.
“It’s actually pretty easy if you know what you’re doing and you have the tools, you know the right cars, do it in the darkness and it’s quick and easy to do, unfortunately,” said Oleksyk.
He said catalytic converters are giving thieves a way to make a quick buck.
In a Twitter post, officials said troopers arrested a 35-year-old suspect from Lansing and a 53-year-old suspect from Laingsburg.
Both are now facing several felony charges and are sitting in the Clinton County jail.
Lt. Oleksyk said thieves tend to try and sell the converters to scrap yards, which is their first mistake.
“Scrap yards, when you try to return this or sell to them, they take your personal information and stuff. So, it’s a matter of time for the criminals that the police will catch up to you if you decide to commit this crime,” said Oleksyk.
Adrienne Woodland with AAA said catalytic converters thefts have picked up nationwide due to the rising price of the precious metals inside.
“In 2018, there were little over 1,200 reported thefts and in 2019, there were just over 3,300 thefts. However, in 2020, that number rose to over 14,400,” Woodland said.
But Woodland said there are ways to make sure you aren’t heading to the auto shop for a replacement
“If you have a garage or an inside facility, you want to park your vehicle inside. If you don’t have that, you want to park in a well-lit area,” she said.
Lt. Oleksyk said typically victims don’t know their car was hit until they turn it on and hear it running a lot louder than normal.