Crime and Safety

Suspected catalytic converter thief killed after being run over by potential victim: police

The alleged catalytic converter thief was killed Tuesday night when the driver of the car started the engine and ran over him, according to police.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the incident took place in Palmdale, a city about 65 miles north of Los Angeles.

Deputies said the woman was sleeping inside a car in the Target parking lot. KAVS-TV.

Investigators said they believe another car pulled up next to the Ford Excursion, from which a man got out, climbed under the SUV and started sawing off the catalytic converter. Los Angeles Times reported.

The noise woke the woman up, who started the engine and put it in reverse.

As she began to reverse, she “felt a jolt, like she’d run into something,” the department said. Associated Press.

“She stopped immediately, leaving the suspect lying on the ground after being hit.”

The woman called 911 and the man was taken to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Times reported.

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According to the Times, there were three other passengers in the car that stopped next to the woman’s SUV – two women and a man. They were detained, according to the sheriff’s office.

catalytic converter theft is rampant in California, due in part to the state’s strict vehicle emissions laws. Department of Justice.

“With higher emission standards in California, our community has become a hotbed of catalytic converter theft,” U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California said last November in a statement about the arrests in what they called “a crackdown…leaders and associates national network of thieves, dealers and processors.” During this investigation, 21 people were arrested in five states.

The Justice Department said in a statement that California accounts for 37 percent of all catalytic converter theft claims nationwide.

About 1,600 catalytic converters a month are stolen in 2021, according to the Department of Justice.

“Catalytic converters use precious metals at their center, or “core”, and are regularly theft due to the high cost of these metals, especially the precious metals palladium, platinum and rhodium,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “An ounce of some of these precious metals is more valuable than gold and has been rising in value in recent years.

“The price on the black market of catalytic converters can exceed $1,000 a piece, depending on the type of car and the state. They can be stolen in less than a minute.

Talbert said that members of the criminal gang, which was eliminated last year, sold stolen catalytic converters to a steel plant for tens of millions of dollars.

The problem is not unique to California. Earlier this month Oskar Meyer Wienermobile – car shaped like a hot dog – lost its catalytic converter due to thieves during a stop in Las Vegas.

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