Dayton ministry latest to experience catalytic converter theft

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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DAYTON, Va. (WHSV) - A Dayton ministry is reminding people to remain vigilant about where they leave their vehicles after the catalytic converter was stolen from its van.

“We just wanna raise awareness for individuals to not leave their vehicles over night in places that are unlit,” said Pastor LaDawn Knicely of Hometown Rescue Mission and Ministry.

Hometown Rescue Mission and Ministry was the latest victim of a catalytic converter theft in the Harrisonburg-Dayton area in the past few months.

“My husband and I came down to check out and see if it needed inspected or whatever, started it up and it sounded pretty bad and so he crawled under it and found that the catalytic converter was gone and then the neighbor came through up on the hill and said that his was missing too,” said Alice Teeter of Hometown Rescue.

Other area businesses and organizations say they have dealt with similar thefts, including: Town and Country Furniture, Harrisonburg Assembly of God Church, County Line Minerals, and Harrisonburg Construction Inc.

“The people who are stealing catalytic converters are trying to sell them at scrapyards, metal dealers, the metal inside of it, it’s items that are worth more than gold, you have platinum and palladium so that’s what makes them so valuable,” said Dayton Police Chief Justin Trout.

Catalytic converters can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 to replace, and police say it is often very difficult to track down those stealing them.

“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack, everybody tends to profit on that, the metal dealers, the scrappers, the people who are stealing them, and essentially the insurance companies because it can cost upwards of $2,000 to repair a vehicle that’s had it’s catalytic converter stolen,” said Chief Trout.

Police say there are a number of ways to protect your vehicle from these thefts, like parking in well lit areas and setting your car alarm to a more sensitive setting.

“You can actually engrave on the catalytic converter itself the VIN number of the vehicle or the license plate number of the vehicle, when those who are trying to steal it look at that and it has an identifying number they may be less apt to take it because it can be identified,” said Trout.

Hometown Rescue says it hopes the thefts will stop.

“For us it was just heartbreaking, we pray for that individual, whatever their reason or circumstances are that they need to around stealing catalytic converters,” said Knicely.

The Harrisonburg Police Department says there have been eight reported catalytic converter thefts in the city in the past two months, and 34 since the start of the year.

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