HICKORY, N.C. — Two people were arrested Tuesday after police say six stolen catalytic converters were found inside of an SUV in Hickory.
Police say catalytic converter thefts are on the rise but on Tuesday, sheriff deputies in Catawba County got a huge break during a routine patrol.
According to officials, a deputy was driving through the parking lot of a shopping center in Hickory when someone was spotted selling catalytic converters out of their SUV.
When deputies searched the vehicle, they found six catalytic converters that they believe were stolen off other vehicles in the area. Deputies said the suspects not only stole the converters but the saws used to cut them off as well.
“We definitely think they were doing a transaction exchanging catalytic converters for money. We do believe they cut those off of vehicles for money,” Mike Crisp with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies said law enforcement in Catawba County has responded to dozens of converter thefts during the last few months. In Hickory alone, police said they’ve had 80 reports since the beginning of the year.
It takes only a matter of minutes to cut a converter off. The precious metal inside is worth hundreds of dollars but the cost for the owner to replace the converter can be more than $1,000 in parts and labor.
Deputies arrested two people who they said will also face narcotics violations after investigators found small amounts of heroin and meth inside the SUV.
Channel 9 tried to talk to one of the suspects as he was taken into custody.
“We’re legitimate,” suspect David Campbell said. “We’re not being arrested for catalytic converters. We’re being arrested for something else.”
Authorities told Channel 9 that the six converters were stolen off of vans at a local blood bank.
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