Police recover 175 catalytic converters

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published January 7, 2019

 Surveillance led police to a home in Detroit where more than 175 catalytic converters were recovered, the majority of them from the back of a box truck on the property.

Surveillance led police to a home in Detroit where more than 175 catalytic converters were recovered, the majority of them from the back of a box truck on the property.

Photo provided by the Warren Police Department

WARREN — A multijurisdictional law enforcement detail assisted by surveillance from the Warren Police Department’s Special Operations Unit made an arrest and recovered more than 175 catalytic converters from a private residence in Detroit on New Year’s Eve.

The allegedly stolen auto parts, used for vehicle emission control systems, are valued by thieves looking to exchange the precious metals inside for quick cash. Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said officers from Warren, Center Line, Sterling Heights, Detroit, Roseville, St. Clair Shores, Shelby Township, Clinton Township, the Macomb Auto Theft Squad and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office took one man into custody when they executed a search warrant at a home on Superior Street, near Chene Street and Interstate 94.

Sgt. Scott Isaacson, of the Warren Police Department, said “hours of surveillance” led officers to the home, where more than 175 converters were recovered, the majority of them from the back of a box truck on the property.

“It’s an ongoing investigation. This is a major theft problem in the tri-county area,” Dwyer said. “It’s the manner in which they are able to steal these converters. It takes them less than a minute to get under your vehicle, cut them off and get back in their vehicle, and they’re gone.”

Dwyer said the unsuspecting vehicle owners are left with a costly repair: $500 or more to replace the missing part and repair the damage to the exhaust system.

Thieves sell the converters for scrap and get cash for the varying amounts of precious metals, including platinum, found inside. The parts can also contain palladium, rhodium, copper and nickel.

Prices for the parts vary by their construction. Police said they can sell for $70 to $100 or more at a scrap yard.