In the past two weeks, there have been reports of catalytic converters being stolen off vehicles from four auto shops — three in Youngstown and one in Niles.
So far, no one’s been arrested.
Darryl Coleman, owner of Elite Coleman Auto Sales in Niles, had to replace a catalytic converter that was stolen from one of his pick-up trucks over the weekend.
“I just got that put on Monday. Tuesday it cost me $300 to replace it,” he said.
“A couple minutes they can saw it off a car and be gone with it,” said Niles Police Captain John Marshall.
Marshall says some catalytic converters contain a half ounce of platinum or palladium, which can go for $400-500 at a scrap yard.
“Don’t need a lot of equipment, don’t need a lot of space for access. It’s something you could theoretically go and victimize community after community,” Marshall said.
Elite Coleman Auto Sales was among the four auto shops to have catalytic converters stolen recently. Jordan Auto Sales and Don’s Automotive, both on Youngstown’s Mahoning Avenue, were vandalized on the same night. Police say Six Brothers Auto Sales on Oak Street in Youngstown also had several converters stolen.
“When someone comes in with several of these items, that’s when the red flags start popping up,” Marshall said.
Police often times rely on scrap yards to catch people.
“They are required to report certain things when they do recycle, especially precious metals,” Marshall said.
“Every year I get catalytic converters stolen off of me. Two years ago at Thanksgiving, I got four stolen off of me,” Coleman said.
Coleman says there’s no way to stop catalytic converters from being stolen.
“If it was that easy I’d do it,” he said.
Two years ago, someone was arrested for stealing one of his catalytic converters, but Coleman never got it back.
“They took him, they arrested him, fined him and that’s all that happened,” he said.
On Monday, Boardman police found a Lincoln Aviator on S. Schenley Avenue with the cargo area filled with catalytic converters. It’s believed they are connected to the ones stolen at Six Brothers Auto Sales.