Montgomery County law enforcement agencies noticing increase in catalytic converter thefts

MIAMI VALLEY — An increasing number of people are falling victim to catalytic converter theft, according to multiple Miami Valley law enforcement agencies.

“I’m pretty upset,” John McGuire of Oakwood said.

He said he stopped in to the Walmart in Moraine for about 20 minutes Tuesday afternoon. While he was in the store, he said someone stole the catalytic converter off the brand new truck he bought about a week ago.

>> Sheriff’s Office investigating ‘potential regulation violations’ at Land of Illusion

“My opinion, catalytic converter theft is a crime of opportunity. There’s really no other contributing factor in my mind,” Sgt. Andrew Parish with the Moraine Police Department said.

He explained, McGuire’s situation is becoming more common.

In 2021 his agency has already handled 14 incidents of catalytic converter thefts, some with multiple offenses. In all of 2020, the department only dealt with three.

This is not an incident that is isolated to Moraine.

>> How far would you go to save your pet’s life?

“Thefts are way up,” Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said.

His office has dealt with 56 reports of catalytic converter thefts since November.

“It’s probably because the amount of money you get for one of these catalytic converters, and then the ease of getting them,” Streck said. “So if you combine those two parts, it makes a lot of predators out there say ‘ok, let’s go try this.’”

When someone steals a catalytic converter, they do serious damage to a car.

>> Space celebration comes as commercial space travel interest peaks 52 years after first trip to moon

McGuire is still waiting to learn his total cost for repairs. He said insurance will cover it, but he will still need to pay his $500 deductible. Meanwhile, the people who make off with the car part, end up with cash.

“Unfortunately, we know that somebody is paying for these converters, and that’s why they’re being hacked off underneath our cars,” Streck said.

Now, his agency is making contact with the businesses it believes are buying the stolen catalytic converters, so they know law enforcement is watching them.

In reference to McGuire’s case, Moraine police want to speak with this man. They said he left Walmart and got into a car with the men who stole McGuire’s catalytic converter.