BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Police departments nationwide saw a spike in catalytic converter thefts. Beckley Police Detective Morgan Bragg said the value of this car part went up significantly.
“There are some precious metals used in the manufacturing of catalytic converters. The value of those metals has gone up recently,” Bragg explained.
Bragg said they saw more than 50 cases of this type of theft in Raleigh County.
“When we observe that, we set about on a plan to do surveillance, to set up decoy vehicles, in hopes that these people will fall into the trap if you will,” Bragg said.
They placed decoy vehicles in known theft areas, and followed the suspects they watched steal the converters. This surveillance led to the arrest of Christopher McMillion and William Perryman, who were charged with grand larceny.
Police also put out an arrest warrant on Charles McMillion for his alleged involvement in the theft. There is also a warrant out for Eric Morris, who police say accepts the stolen property and gives the suspects money for it.
Bragg said police believe these four individuals were responsible for at least a dozen thefts, but their investigation is still ongoing and they expect to make more arrests in the future.
“If they’re going to continue to victimize these innocent people that they are taking a real chance with that because we are going to be out there, we are going to have decoy vehicles set up, we will be surveilling the areas that they work in. They are really taking a chance with the next catalytic converter they cut, it may very well be the one we put there for them to do,” Bragg said.