Trio arrested for stealing catalytic converters in Peoria


by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Steve Bodinet

Posted on September 5, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 5 at 6:40 PM

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Peoria police said they have arrested three metal thieves who were targeting large trucks and SUVs for their catalytic converters.

Last month, the Impact Team got a lead on a group of suspects and put them under surveillance. They were seen pulling into a store parking lot near 75th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard around 7 p.m. on Aug. 9.

The three men got out of their truck and raised the hood, appearing to look at the engine, according to police spokeswoman Amanda Jacinto. One of the men then got on the ground with a saw and went underneath a nearby Toyota Sequoia. Within just a few minutes, the men removed the catalytic converter, put it in their truck and drove away.

The suspects were later stopped by officers and arrested for burglary from a vehicle. They were identified as Roosevelt Scroggins, 42, Dion Howard, 21, and Derek Figueroa, 19.

Police released surveillance video of the theft on Wednesday. In it, several people are seen walking and driving past the men as they remove the catalytic converter. Police believe many people do not know a crime is taking place because they do not know what these thieves are doing.

"We hope by educating the public on these thefts and what they look like, we can work together to stop them," Jacinto said in a news release.

Since the beginning of August, Peoria police have received 15 reports of stolen catalytic converters.

Thieves earn about $50 when they sell the catalytic converts to auto recyclers, but it costs a victim about $1,500 to fix the vehicle.

Often a victim does not know the catalytic converter has been taken. The vehicle can still run, however, it will seem off and a victim may not know why until he or she takes it in for service.