Catalytic converter thefts spike in Vicksburg

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 7:46 PM CDT
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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - Catalytic converter thefts have spiked in Vicksburg, and police believe they have arrested two of the men responsible for the increase in those crimes.

Vicksburg police arrest 35-year-old Zachary Donald and Daniel Pace. They are both charged with five counts of grand larceny.

Their bond is set at $175,000.

“So, basically what they are doing is going around and stealing converters from under vehicles that are left unattended,” Sgt. Tommy Curtis said.

Catalytic converters are part of the exhaust system and help reduce the contaminants emitted by it.

Curtis says over the past few weeks more than a dozen have been stolen from different parts of town.

“They hit a cable company, they hit around the hospital area, they hit by convenience stores and auto places.”

Police say they have arrested two men for allegedly stealing converters in the area, but admit this has become a trend nationwide.

Robyn Lea agrees. She is a State Farm insurance agent in Vicksburg and says it’s what is inside catalytic converters that make them a target.

“Catalytic converters have three rare medals inside. Mainly palladium, platinum and rhodium. What they do is extract those medals and sell them. So, these catalytic converters can be worth several hundreds of dollars to several thousands of dollars for some of the larger vehicles.”

Both Lea and Sgt. Curtis say there are ways to help prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

“Security cameras is one thing that is very good that you can have to help. Cameras helped in this case and that is how we were able to locate the person. Also, parking in a well-lit area. If you are traveling and you park your car, try to park close where a lot of traffic is because thieves try to look for the vulnerable and a vehicle that is hidden off.”

According to State Farm claims data, in the 12-month period comprised by the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021 (from July 2020 to June 2021), the theft of catalytic converters grew close to 293% nationwide in terms of number of claims filed, compared to the 12 months prior.

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