Thieves target cars in Saginaw County stealing catalytic converters

The Saginaw County Sheriff is seeing an unusually high number of catalytic converter thefts. In the last three weeks, Sheriff Bill Federspeil says 30 have been cut off parked cars.

"What we've seen, here in Saginaw County, is an I-75 corridor of what you might consider a catalytic crime spree,â?? said William L. Federspiel, Saginaw County Sheriff.

Sheriff Federspiel says the thieves are targeting vehicles in dark parking lots that are not near residential areas. He says itâ??s actually easy for criminals to do this, and go unnoticed.

"Get underneath the car, cut it, and within 10 seconds you've got yourself a hundred bucks,â?? said Federspiel.

Matt Enszer owns an auto repair shop in Saginaw. He, and most scraps yards NBC25 spoke with, say they simply won't buy catalytic converters, because they know, more often than not, theyâ??re stolen.

"These guys are professionals. Theyâ??re knowing what they're doing,â?? said Matt Enszer, owner, Enszer Auto Repair. "They're taking them for the money. I think probably your most common converter getting stolen, probably, is your GM converter because it's worth the most."

Inside a catalytic converter are several precious metals, the most valuable being platinum. Enszer tells NBC25 some catalytic converters will bring in as much as 200 to 400 dollars, but most are valued between 40 and 100 dollars.

Although these are commonly stolen, both Enszer and Sheriff Federspiel donâ??t know where the thieves are selling the stolen parts.

â??That's what gets me. How they're getting rid of them? Where they're getting rid of them? Who's buying them? And I really don't know,â?? said Enszer.

The sheriff believes the 30 recent crimes are linked to the same group. He also says the people are not from the area, and are most likely selling the parts outside the area as well.

Sheriff Federspiel says they donâ??t have any leads on exactly who the thieves are, and is asking anyone who sees something suspicious in the I-75 corridor to call 911.