Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Belhaven neighborhood

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 7:22 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Efforts to slow the illegal sale and purchase of stolen catalytic converters were made last legislative session, but some Belhaven residents in Jackson are still falling victim to the crime.

Oftentimes, folks in Belhaven will park along the street for convenience and simply due to a lack of driveways in the neighborhoods. However, it makes cars vulnerable to having their catalytic converters stolen.

A bill turned law last legislative session made efforts to make a crime of opportunity a little more difficult to get away with the theft and resale of catalytic converters.

“They have to provide the scrap metal dealer with - or scrap metal buyer the VIN for the vehicle, the name of the owner of the vehicle, and why the catalytic converter was removed. The types of things that a legitimate seller of a catalytic converter would have,” Senator Mike Thompson explained.

But why are catalytic converters so valuable? Catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which can cost between $800 to $2000 per ounce.

While Senator Mike Thompson said it’s helped officers arrest those who try to resell to legitimate mechanics and shops, it didn’t help Belhaven resident Sam Brookes last week.

“I went out and got my SUV and crank it up. It made a horrific noise, never heard anything like it. And I knew something was bad wrong. So I drove straight down to the Honda place and when they cranked it up, they said, it sounds like catalytic converters been stolen,” Brookes explained.

Now, Brookes said he’s facing a replacement bill of over $4,000 - something he never expected to have to pay for.

“I’m afraid they may take my element. I have a Honda Element. 2010 It’s 12 years old. It has high mileage. I hope they don’t declare it a total loss. But that could have so I might be looking at buying a new vehicle,” Brookes said.

But is there anything the state can do?

“Pretty much the consensus is let’s try to make what we have now work. And if we have to make any changes or any tweaks to the law, we’ll do that next legislative session,” Sen. Thompson said.

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