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Catalytic converter thefts 'resurged' in Ottawa Co. | News

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Catalytic converter thefts 'resurged' in Ottawa Co.

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- There are new cases of valuable car parts stolen from vehicles in Ottawa County after a spike in the same crime last year. In the latest incidents, investigators say thieves stole catalytic converters from half a dozen cars at park-and-ride lots in Coopersville and Nunica earlier this week.

Those who know what to look for can turn what looks like trash into treasure. Managers of KLW Recycling in Holland Township buy and sell scrap metal. Unfortunately, thieves have also discovered the value of a catalytic converter.

"Some people might just see it as an easy way to make money," says Andy Swett, plant manager for KLW Recycling.

Because of recent changes to state law, scrap dealers are no longer allowed to pay cash for big purchases.

"Send a check in the mail for any items over $25, and that's going to be the catalytic converters," says Swett.

However, despite the tougher law, half a dozen catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles at the Coopersville and Nunica park and rides.

"This is not really a new phenomenon, it's kind of re-surged here in the last week," says Captain Bennett with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department. "What's most remarkable about these circumstances is they all appear to have happened in the daytime hours."

Last January, there was a spike of 30 stolen catalytic converters. With the latest string of thefts, deputies are stepping up patrols and asking the public to be alert.

"Try to park in a visible area of the particular lots and then also be a good citizen-- if you see something that doesn't look proper, people underneath vehicles, just give us a call," says Captain Bennett.

Investigators say based on past experience, the stolen items usually show up in other parts of the state. However, local scrap dealers say they'll continue watching for suspicious characters.

"A red flag would be anyone hauling in large amounts if they are not like an auto recycler," says Swett.

No suspects have been identified in the latest thefts, but investigators did recover some physical evidence. They hope if the thieves strike again, someone will see them.

Unlike when these catalytic converter thefts happened last year, this year the price of the metals has not dramatically increased. However, the parts are still valuable, at up to $95 each, according to KLW Recycling.