OZARK, Ala. (WDHN) — Over the last 6 months the Wiregrass has seen multiple catalytic converter thefts.
In Ozark, three catalytic converters were taken from cars that were parked at a business on South Union Avenue.
The two men charged with the theft of the catalytic converters were taken into custody.
Houston County, Henry County, and Geneva County have also seen catalytic converter thefts, and as we near the holidays we may see even more of these thefts as people try to make a quick buck.
“Usually around the holidays you’re going to see an increase,” Ozark Police Department Lieutenant Everett Evans said.
“It is something that is happening everywhere because you can get them off and make a quick $200-$300,” the Manager at Jim Whaley Tires, Ross Fuller said.
People who take catalytic converters can get between $100 and $400 from a scrap yard, but as the theft of catalytic converters rises scrap yards are beginning to step up.
“But the salvage yards have taken steps to try to make it where it’s hard to get them turned in,” Fuller said. “By showing proof of ownership.”
Catalytic converters don’t have a vehicle identification number which makes it easier for people to take to salvage yards to make a profit.
Salvage yards making people show proof of ownership for the converter will make it a little tougher for people to make a quick buck.
“We do utilize them as one of the steps and they’re full cooperative with us,” Lt. Evans said.
A local scrap metal dealer, Panhandle 2.0 LLC, released the following statement:
“The current inflated market in precious metals is certainly a factor in the rise of catalytic converter thefts, but so are the “slap-on-the-wrist” punishments being given. When the reward outweighs the risk, it’s simply impossible for a thief to resist. Strict and universal enforcement of existing laws coupled with appropriately harsh punishments for those convicted would go much further as a deterrent than any number of new regulations.”
Fuller and Ozark Police Department both recommend that people park in well-lit areas and at the front of businesses so that their car is visible to the public.
They also recommend that people park in their garages if they can do so.