November 6, 2012

Catalytic converter thief caught

Wanted in Clay County for similar offenses

By Magen McCrarey
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — An arrest made by the London Police Department on Monday helped to solve several cases of catalytic converter thefts in London, Clark and Knox counties, and shed light on a possible case of organized crime.  

The London Police officers arrested David W. Messer, 37, of 72 Newland Dr. in London, for stealing five catalytic converters.  The cars involved were parked in residential and commercial areas, including K-Mart’s parking lot on Ky. 192.

A warrant was also out for Messer’s arrest in Clark County for catalytic converters stolen from eight vehicles on Oct. 22.  The incident was recorded on nearby business’ surveillance video systems.  London Police  notified the Winchester Police Department following Messer’s arrest that several converters recovered were sold to a recycler in Knox County and matched the vehicles in Clark County.

“There will be more arrests,” said Police Chief Stewart Walker.

Since June, 2012, there have been 40 catalytic converter thefts.  Many vehicles have had their converters cut off in broad daylight at shopping centers and churches.  It has been determined that older vehicles are a general target, while primarily Toyota vehicles have been targets of the London thefts.

When victims of the thefts start their vehicles after shopping or attending church, they’ve reported a loud noise their vehicles sounds omitted by their vehicles as if their exhaust has been removed.  The expense to install a catalytic converter far exceeds the cost by the hundreds for scrap recyclers to purchase the stolen items from thieves.

Approximately two to three more suspects are involved.   The London and Winchester police departments are continuing the investigation.