Multiple catalytic converters stolen from vehicles in Stafford County, police say

Authorities are investigating after thieves stole four catalytic converters earlier this week from vehicles in Stafford County.

Investigators say the catalytic converters were stolen during the overnight hours from August 15 to 16 at businesses in the Fredericksburg area.

Koto LLC and Manuel’s Auto Repair, both on Potomac Creek Drive, reported thefts. Police say camera surveillance footage from Manuel’s shows a Dodge Ram 1500 entered the parking lot around 4:10 a.m. Three people exited the vehicle before leaving the scene. Officers say multiple catalytic converters were seen in the back of the truck.

Investigators say Nistor Facility Services, located nearby, also reported a stolen catalytic converter. A customer parked in a lot between the two businesses also reported a catalytic converter theft.

Police say each was valued at over $1,000.

Detectives are reviewing the surveillance video. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective D.V. Torrice Jr. at 540-658-4400.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of precious metals skyrocketed - and as a result - so did thefts of catalytic converters that contain valuable metals like platinum.

Earlier this month, a task force in Houston busted a catalytic converter theft ring with over $12 million in stolen goods and weapons.

Last year, Howard County police made an arrest in a catalytic converter theft case that could possibly have links to dozens of other incidents.

Authorities in Washington state created a program that allows drivers to get their car's vehicle identification number engraved and highlighted with bright paint on their catalytic converter to deter criminals from targeting them.