Parts thieves terrorize R’land

By DUNCAN DENT

RIDGELAND – Police here are investigating a series of thefts of catalytic converters reported last Friday morning from apartment complexes across the city.

Police Chief John Neal said a total of four thefts were reported from three different apartment complexes.

“Friday morning April 15, 2022, approximately 0500 hours,” Neal said. “Ridgeland Police Department officers were dispatched to Pointe Apartments located at 831 Rice Road in reference to a possible theft of parts from a vehicle.”

Officers arrived and were able to identify a vehicle in the apartment complex that was missing a catalytic converter. According to Neal, additional complaints were filed with the Ridgeland Police Department throughout the morning from other apartment complexes in the area.

Neal said on Friday he confirmed two catalytic converters were stolen from cars at The Pointe Apartments, one theft was reported at Legacy Apartments and another theft was reported in Arbors at Natchez Trace.

A resident of Legacy Apartments also reported that a Honda dirt bike was stolen from the bed of a pickup truck, Neal said.

“Investigators were called to the compounds and several pieces of evidence were recovered from the scene,” Neal said. “This evidence will be processed for fingerprint identification. Investigators are also working to secure any video evidence that may have captured images of interest.

Neal said the interest and increase in thefts of catalytic converters is due to price increases for the precious metals contained inside the device. He said those metals include platinum, palladium and rhodium.

“Market prices for these metals fluctuate erratically, depending on the region of the United States where automotive devices are sold for scrap,” Neal said.

Catalytic converters are normally removed from a vehicle using a saw cutter with a sharp blade to penetrate the exhaust pipes on either side of the converter. Neal said it is difficult to catch these thieves in the act because they normally target isolated areas where vehicles are kept. A skilled thief can remove a catalytic converter very quickly, he said.

Neal said one constant is the amount of noise flights create.

“Cutting metal creates a loud squealing noise, so we ask residents to listen for these types of noises when outdoors and if they observe suspicious activity, please contact their local police department,” said Neal.

The non-emergency line for RPD is 601-856-2121.

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