Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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CONYERS -- Thefts of catalytic converters are on the rise in Rockdale County, according to local law enforcement.
Rockdale County Sheriff's Office PIO Lt. Michael Camp said thefts have been "sporadic throughout the county and city" since May. At least five catalytic converter thefts have been reported from vehicle owners parked overnight in the parking deck at Rockdale Medical Center since June 4. The most recent occurred last Friday. Kids R Kids Day Care on Salem Road had three buses stripped, at a cost of $2,200 to repair. Camp said the county has had reports of 11 thefts since May and the city and county have had combined reports of thefts of about 20 this summer.
Camp said it's likely the same person or same group is responsible.
"It's a pretty rare thing overall compared to all the other thefts we have," he said.
While the platinum and titanium the thieves are after sells for about $100, the victim usually winds up paying about $500 for a replacement, Camp said, or as much as $1,000 for SUVs. The Toyota 4Runner is the most targeted vehicle, because apparently it has more of the pricier metal that thieves are after, he said. Lt. Jackie Dunn with the Conyers Police Department said Toyota Tacomas are also targeted, as well as UHaul trucks. "They can slide up under it and it's done in minutes," he said.
Camp said a new law that went into effect July 1 requires that anyone selling to scrapyards provide a photo ID and have a business license. Scrapyards are now required to register with the CPD as well. So Camp said he doubts the thieves are selling to scrapyards.
"They're ending up somewhere, we don't know where," he said, speculating that they could be "ending up at auto repair shops that aren't on the up and up."