Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office seeing uptick in catalytic converter thefts

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 9:18 AM EST
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in reports of catalytic converter thefts recently, and Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson says it’s a crime that seems to come and go in waves.

“We had 8 or 9 in the month of October and then thus far in November we’ve had two or three already. It is a crime that does seem to follow a trend, and right now we may be in the middle of stealing those converters again,” Hutcheson said.

Hutcheson says the thefts are quick and often happen overnight. The fall and winter months see the sun go down much earlier, which experts say can lead to an increase in property theft.

“Property crimes go up and human-to-human crimes go down and that mainly has to do with the darkness being at 5:30 p.m. versus 9 p.m.,” Criminal justice planner for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Frank Sotacetti said.

According to Hutcheson, businesses have been the main target of these thefts as they are an overnight spot for larger vehicles like box trucks and vans.

“A majority of what we’ve been seeing with these catalytic converter thefts are along the Route 11 corridor. They seem to be targeting the bigger vehicles: the pickup trucks, work trucks, and box vans,” Hutcheson said.

Hutcheson says staying alert for yourself and your neighbors, and making sure vehicles are parked in well-lit areas are some tips to prevent thefts like this from happening.

If you have your catalytic converter stolen Hutcheson says an important step is to report it to the non-emergency line at 540-564-3800.