ORLANDO, Fla. – Detectives arrested two people in connection with a rash of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles parked at the University of Central Florida, according to police.
UCF Police arrested Tyre Smith, 23, and Kentrail McDaniel, 21, on Friday.
According to arrest affidavits, security cameras helped police identify the license plate from the suspects’ vehicle, a silver SUV, which was a Texas tag. From that, they were able to identify the SUV as an AVIS Budget vehicle rented in Houston. Both suspects are from Texas.
The rental car company used the tracking system in the vehicle to locate the hotel the suspects were staying at, a La Quinta Inn on Daetwyler Drive, police said.
The department said from there, police were able to track the suspects and arrest them at a Wawa on Central Florida Parkway.
Inside the hotel room, police said investigators found 21 catalytic converters, along with an assortment of tools. More were found inside the SUV when the suspects were arrested.
The suspects are facing a number of charges. Additional charges may be filed in the future, according to police.
UCF police said 14 catalytic converter thefts were reported on campus so far in 2022, mirroring a larger trend of catalytic converter thefts around the country.
Last month, two men were arrested and 31 stolen catalytic converters were found at an Orlando hotel. It’s believed those suspects were also from Texas and part of a larger theft ring.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals that can be more expensive than gold. The converters can be sold and melted down for the metals.