Catalytic converter thefts on the rise across the Upstate

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GREER, S.C. (WSPA)–All it takes is an opportunity, a couple of minutes, and the right tools.

“At first we saw trucks, now they’re targeting everything,” Deni Dennis, the general sales manager at D&D Ford, said. “They get in and out really quickly, we have security here, cameras that they catch and call police but they’re in and out before they can get here.”

Thieves have made off with about 15 catalytic converters off inventory and customer cars in the last week.

“They know what they’re looking for and they’re in and out really quick, so it’s got to be somebody who knows what they’re doing,” Dennis said.

These numbers pale in comparison to what’s being seen across the Upstate.

“They have definitely been on the rise over the past three years,” Lt. Ryan Flood with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, said.

Between the City of Greenville and the county, there have been more than 200 reports like this. In Spartanburg and the county nearly 100, and dozens elsewhere across the upstate.

“These suspects are getting in and out in two to three minutes time. So if you see people walking around with Sawzalls, that’s the main tool of use. Just call us so we can come out there and investigate,” Flood said.

So how can you keep your vehicle from becoming a target?

“If they can, park in an area where it’s going to be covered by surveillance video, park in well lit areas, or if they have the ability to park inside a garage or parking garage, do so,” Flood said.

And for a part that’s expensive and can cost thousands to replace, Dennis has a message for those committing these crimes.

“The value of those items are not that valuable on the open market, maybe they could find something more valuable to do with their time,” Dennis said.

The state legislature passed a law just last month to require paperwork in order to sell catalytic converters and increase the penalties for selling stolen parts

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