FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Police and a tow truck driver responded to the Carmike Cinemas over the weekend after a man reported his car was vandalized. He told police someone took off the catalytic converter while he was inside watching a movie.
Jerimiah Griggs said he didn’t realize anything was wrong until he got into his car and took off.
“It sounded really loud,” Griggs said. “Didn’t think anything about it at first, and as soon as I started pulling away, I realized something was dragging.”
Griggs got out of his vehicle to inspect what was dragging. He said it was a pipe from underneath and that’s when he found out someone took out his catalytic converter.
“Both the tow truck driver and the police officer involved both made the comment that it’s a major issue,” he said.
Allen County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Steve Stone said catalytic converters are a hot item. He said it sells for a quite of bit of money and it’s fairly easy to get off a vehicle if you know what you’re doing. It can take no more than a couple minutes, Stone said. He claims there’s not much that can be done to prevent it from happening, but you can take certain precautions to lessen your chances of being a target.
“Park in a well-lit area. If you drive a smaller vehicle, don’t park between two big vehicles where no one can see your car,” said Stone.
Stone also points out that authorities work with local junk yards to try and catch criminals cashing in on catalytic converters. He said those junk yards could also be in trouble with the law if they knowingly take a converter they found out was stolen. Right now, Stone estimates a person can get about $50 to $60 for a catalytic converter. He said most criminals sell them out of state so they don’t get caught.
Griggs had a family member temporarily fix his problem and is waiting to get enough money to buy a catalytic converter to have it installed.