LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Two suspects, identified as Antwaun Nicholson and Rodney Clovis, are facing charges tonight-- officials say they stole a catalytic converter from one of Chestnut Drive Baptist Church’s vans.
The catalytic converter is a very popular part for thieves to take, because of its value.
“Fortunately, there was a very observant neighbor that was able to hear them and called the police for them to on check it,” Chestnut Drive Baptist Church Sound Technician Bobby Cranford says. “An exceptionally observant officer looked under the van and found that the converter was missing.”
Police across the country are reporting a rise in the number of catalytic converters stolen from vehicles.
Richard Palomo is a state inspector for The Muffler Shop in Lufkin. He says that the reason thieves want to steal catalytic converters is so that they can try to sell them on the black market.
This particular part is worth a lot of money.
“They can run you anywhere between $200 and $400, which is from what you can call an after-market price value,” Palomo says. “The catalytic converters go for good money. There is no way to trace them back, because there is no serial number or anything.”
According to Richard, it is illegal to sell the catalytic converter without a license. There is a lengthy process to buy them. A lot of paperwork has to be filled out and not just anybody can buy them.
After this incident, the church may end up getting a new one after all.
“There was a day when people had enough respect for churches and the last place they would steal from is a church,” Cranford says. “We’re actually just glad it was that small. It could be a lot worse.”
Both suspects, Nicholson and Clovis, were arrested outside of a different Lufkin church, where police say they were attempting another theft.