Chandler police say catalytic converter thefts are getting more dangerous

While Chandler police say they made a dent in catalytic converter thefts with three arrests, the crimes are getting more violent.
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 8:24 PM MST
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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Police say catalytic converter thefts are becoming more dangerous in the Valley, with thieves carrying weapons. But Chandler police say they’re making progress, with arresting three men last month. Since then, they’ve seen the crime dropping in recent weeks. But some crooks are getting more violent.

In another brazen attempt to steal a catalytic converter, two thieves approach a Chandler home and a gun dropped out of one of the criminal’s pockets as the other stole from under the car. “They are sloppy. They’re going to drop their weapon and it may go off and they’re not afraid to use it,” said Chandler Police Sgt. Jason McClimans.

In another case, three men were taken into custody after police said they found 11 stolen catalytic converters in the back of their car. One of the suspects held up the victim as the others went after the metal under his car, police said. “The victim confronted them. The suspect pointed a gun at the victim and that gun was equipped with a laser sight, so when the victim came out and confronted them he had a green or red dot pointed at his chest, ” McClimans said.

Chandler, like most cities, has seen catalytic converter thefts skyrocket. “In 2020, we had 22 catalytic converter thefts. In 2021, 404. And here in 2022, this is only three months in, we’ve had 120, " said McClimans.

He added just posting the video of the crime on social media isn’t enough. McClimans is urging anyone who is a victim of theft to call the police and make a report. “We are always looking at crime trends through police reports. If you aren’t filing that report, it’s almost like we don’t know it’s happening,” he said.

Police recommend spraypainting or engraving your VIN on your converter in case it gets stolen. It could help them get back to you and strengthen their case against the criminals.