Thieves hit auto shop that’s been in Jackson nearly three decades on Christmas morning

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 9:54 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Catalytic converters continue to be a hot ticket item for thieves.

Most recently, an auto repair shop that’s been in Jackson for nearly three decades was hit on Christmas morning.

The owner of Allen Enterprises, George Allen, said there’s at least two other car shops in the area that also had catalytic converters stolen in the last month.

He said he’s filed a police report but hasn’t heard from Jackson Police yet, which is likely due to the holiday weekend.

“It’s happened in people’s driveways, it’s happened on the side of the road, it’s the first time it’s happened to me,” Allen said.

It’s a common problem and one that skyrocketed across the country during the pandemic. Unfortunately for Allen, it happened on Christmas morning.

“I found out about it a half an hour before dinner with my family. My sibling was in for the first time all year,” he said. “I’m eating with my dad, my mom, and I’m trying not to complain during the family dinner. I found it very distressing.”

Between July 2020 and June 2021, State Farm says catalytic converter theft grew nearly 293% nationwide. That’s in terms of the number of claims filed compared to the previous 12 months.

“This is the kind of thing that hits regular people where it really hurts,” Allen said.

Allen recommends parking your car in the garage when possible and said another great way to prevent these types of crimes, as well as catching thieves after the fact, is by putting surveillance cameras in areas visible to those on the outside of the building.

He estimates the thieves stole three-to-four thousand dollars worth of catalytic converters in the 30 minutes they were there.

“The material inside is platinum used to convert unburned gasoline into a more environmentally friendly substance, and they are very expensive,” he said.

Allen said seven of the cars were his and three of them belonged to customers. Technically, he’s not responsible for the costs associated with the customers’ cars, but, morally, he said he feels responsible.

“In the cases where I wasn’t specifically asked to keep the car outside, I’ll pay at least half of the repair cost,” he said.

One of the customers already has an estimate for a fourteen-hundred dollar repair.

Allen said he’d feel more comfortable working in other parts of the state because of the crime in Jackson. However, if he moved his business, he said it’ll inconvenience at least half of his customers.

Unfortunately, he said it wouldn’t take more than two or three incidents like this one until he doesn’t have a choice but to relocate.

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