Cops find 1,200 stolen catalytic converters in storage unit as thefts soar
PHOENIX (Arizona’s Family/Gray News) - Phoenix police made a huge bust in a suspected catalytic converter theft ring on Thursday.
Investigators said officers with the Phoenix Police Department recovered more than 1,200 used and detached catalytic converters from a storage unit west of downtown Phoenix.
Police said detectives started the investigation in January when they suspected a man had a significant number of catalytic converters in his possession.
Arizona’s Family reports Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Vincent Cole identified that man as 48-year-old Shelton Ford.
Detectives said they used advanced investigative methods to gather evidence and trace the stolen car parts to the storage unit.
Police said most of the converters were believed to be stolen since they had been freshly cut from cars.
Authorities estimated the street value of the car parts seized was worth at least $195,000.
Police said catalytic converter thefts are a crime of opportunity that is lucrative for thieves. These types of crimes are also on the rise around the country.
Kelly Blue Book recently cited a study that found nearly 14,433 reports of stolen catalytic converters in 2020. That number jumped to almost 26,000 in the first five months of 2021.
Car owners can make it as difficult as possible for thieves to get to their catalytic converter.
Authorities suggest parking in well-lit areas and avoiding street parking when possible.
It’s best to park inside a garage, and if that garage is at home, make sure to close the door, and if drivers must park in the driveway, back up the vehicle to the garage.
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