Businesses effected by catalytic converter theft speak out

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – This week the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office arrested seven people linked to a string of catalytic converter thefts. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says it’s recovered thousands of dollars of stolen property just this week, however this was not the first time.

“Since probably February we’ve had more than 100 reports or catalytic converters being stolen off cars just in Franklin County,” explains Detective Jeff Farmer, who assisted with the investigation.

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These thefts aren’t just in Franklin County. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports from 2008 through 2015, there were 25,394 catalytic converter thefts across the nation. Clark’s Auto Service in Lexington says its been impacted too.

“On my particular lot we’ve had two. The body shop next door has had 8 or 10. The other body shop close by has lost 3 or 4 or 5. All of those guys are all in shouting distance,” explains Bill Clark.

Detective Jeff Farmer says 5-6 years ago, you could maybe get 50 to 80 dollars for a converter. Today they sell for a lot more.

“They’re able to sell these converters for 400 to 800 dollars sometimes more,” says Farmer.

By federal law, you must have a catalytic converter. The piece of equipment exists as a way to control emissions. Cohen Brothers in Winchester is a company that buys parts from the car, but typically purchased the whole car for scraps.

“If you sell the converter at the time of scraping the car its explanatory but if you bring in a converter by itself you’re going to either need a copy or a receipt of if you’ve had exhaust work on your car..Registration..Title or insurance,” Says Jerry Joiner.

While there’s ways to weed out stolen parts, businesses say there’s other ways to get away with it, the internet. If you do some online searching, you’ll see that amazon has lots of converters for sale for purchase. This is why businesses like Clark’s are making it harder for thieves to get them.

“We have to put trucks up every night, otherwise its just a matter of time you’re rolling the dice if you don’t. They will get the converter on the truck if you leave it out,” warns Clark.