Local law enforcement officials are warning of an outbreak of catalytic converter thefts across Mid-Michigan.
The parts are being taken from vehicles across the area, so much so that police are calling it an epidemic.
"We're talking about thirty incidents in the last three weeks," said Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel. The sheriff said during a news conference Thursday criminals are stealing the expensive parts at an alarming rate. The sheriff said commercial vehicles and businesses are primarily being targeted.
"Thieves are targeting the Birch Run area, the Park and Ride at Bridgeport and I-75, Dixie and I-75, [as well as] businesses on the Bay Road corridor in Saginaw and Kochville townships," said Federspiel.
The sheriff says the criminals are getting away catalytic converters very quickly. Federspiel demonstrated how quickly these criminals can get away with a catalytic converter. Federspiel, who said he'd never attempted to remove a catalytic converter before, managed to cut one off a car in three minutes. . And just so you know he has never done this before.
Federspiel says the parts can go for as much as $100, maybe more. And he wants people to be on the lookout so that a tip will lead to an arrest. Federspiel believes the thieves are from outside Saginaw County, and that the parts are ending up outside the county.
No arrests have been made yet.
"If you think there's something suspicious, nine out of ten times there probably is something suspicious, so please do call us," said Federspiel.
If you think a crime is being committed, call 911. If you have information on the thefts, call the sheriff at 989-790-5441.
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