Women arrested in connection with catalytic converter thefts

Jan 18—TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Sheriff’s deputies arrested two women early Tuesday in connection with a spate of catalytic converter thefts in the area.

A Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office patrol sergeant spotted the suspects — a 29-year-old and a 44-year-old, both from Interlochen — at a Garfield Township auto shop while conducting a routine property check.

While the sergeant sat in his patrol vehicle, the two women drove behind a neighboring business in a passenger van with its lights off. The van parked alongside several other vehicles. After that, the sergeant saw one of the passengers begin looking around the other vehicles with a flashlight, according to a sheriff’s office press release.

Together with another deputy, the patrol sergeant approached the van, and they spotted the 44-year-old woman dressed in dark clothing, with a cutting saw in her possession. The 29-year-old was in the van, according to the sheriff’s office.

After obtaining a search warrant, detectives found catalytic converters in the van that were identified as having been stolen from another nearby business. There was also evidence of other crimes, according to the press release, and both women had other outstanding warrants. As of Wednesday morning, the two women were awaiting arrangement.

The sheriff’s office has been warning citizens of a rise in catalytic converter thefts for several weeks in Garfield, Blair and Green Lake townships. A spike of similar crimes occurred last January.

Thieves target the parts, which filter excess fuel after combustion, for the precious metals found inside, including rhodium, platinum and palladium.

Report for America corps member and data journalist William T. Perkins’ reporting is made possible by a partnership between the Record-Eagle and Report for America, a journalism service project founded by the nonprofit Ground Truth Project. Generous community support helps fund a local share of the Record-Eagle/RFA partnership. To support RFA reporters in Traverse City, go to www.record-eagle.com/rfa.

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