Central Florida continues to see increase in catalytic converter thefts

Thieves can steal a catalytic converter in three minutes

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Catalytic converter thefts have become a quick and easy job for experienced thieves in Central Florida.

News 6 first told you about a wave of catalytic converter thefts sweeping Volusia County and Flagler County in March. Since then, three more Central Florida counties can be added to the list, Lake, Marion and Seminole counties.

[RELATED: Catalytic converter thefts increase across Central Florida]

A catalytic converter was stolen Tuesday afternoon from a car parked at a tow yard in Ocala on Jacksonville Road, according to Ocala police.

Lt. Fred Jones with Lake County Sheriff’s Office said it’s a crime of opportunity that has drawn the attention of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“Catalytic converters are easy to get off cars, it can happen anywhere between two and three minutes,” Lt. Jones said.

Lt. Jones said thieves crawl underneath a vehicle, and cut out the converter with a saw, in search of precious metals that can be sold.

“Depending on the size of the vehicle, between $100-200 dollars if you are talking about a box truck,” Lt. Jones said. “We probably have three dozen cases or a little more than that.”

According to an arrest report, Lake County Sheriff’s Office arrested William Marvin Langston and Daniel Wade Hare in connection with a catalytic converter theft at a Clermont construction site.

“We’re sharing information with FDLE, they are sharing the information and hopefully we can figure out how to stop this,” Lt. Jones said.

Mount Dora police released a crime bulletin with a still image of a person on a bicycle who investigators believe may be linked to a catalytic converter theft on March 17 at Lake Cares Food Pantry.

[RELATED: Surveillance video shows catalytic converter thieves hit Sanford auto dealer]

Police said this location has been hit twice.

Seminole County has seen a rash of thefts too. Sanford police said 15 converters were stolen from vehicles in the parking lot of Longwood Truck Center. Surveillance Cameras captured footage of two people who police need help to identify.


About the Author:

Nicky Zizaza is an Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 6 nightside team in December 2018. She is originally from Rwanda and she started her journalism career in the nation's capital.