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Catalytic converter thefts at daycare center in Warren County

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 9:11 PM CDT
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WARREN CO., Miss. (WLBT) - Catalytic converter thefts continue to be a big problem in our area.

Thieves are stealing the exhaust systems and selling them because of the precious metal inside.

Assistant Director Donna Carver says on Friday morning, Cutler’s Grow N Learn Day Care Center was preparing to transport their kids when they heard a strange noise.

“Instead of the normal sound of the bus and the van running, it sounded like it didn’t have a muffler,” Carver said. “It was a horrible loud sound.”

They quickly realized catalytic converters like these were stolen from under the vehicles. This is the second time it has happened in the past year.

“We are trying to safely transport children, and anything that would jeopardize the safety of our children is not acceptable,” said Carver.

Now they are down to just one van to pick up multiple children until they pay to replace the converters.

“It is frustrating because this is something that could’ve gone to the children to improve something inside the building,” Carver expressed.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace says it takes thieves a few minutes to cut these converters from under cars.

“The theft of catalytic converters is a nationwide problem,” said Sheriff Pace. “There are resale places that will purchase these because of the precious metal content in the converters. We have had several cases in the county, and we’ve made several arrests.”

Vicksburg Police Chief Penny Jones agrees it’s a growing problem. Last month, Vicksburg received 20 reports of stolen converters.

In one case, Jones says her team arrested and charged 58-year-old Jerry Coleman and 44-year-old Cullen Spann for allegedly stealing the car parts from cars at a local casino.

“The Vicksburg Police Department is doing extra patrol, but the people in the community need to help as well, and if you see something, say something,” Chief Jones said. “This is like a crime of opportunity.”

The Police Department shares these tips to help prevent converter thefts:

  • Park in well-lit areas or where you can maintain eye-contact on your vehicle
  • Install an anti-theft device
  • Park your car inside a garage with the door shut
  • Add a high-quality surveillance video system to the area where you park your car
  • Install an active car alarm that will trigger with vibrations to the vehicle
  • Call the police if you see suspicious activity

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