New Braunfels police looking to return suspected stolen catalytic converters to victims

Three people have been arrested, but not yet charged with theft

Police said that nine catalytic converters were stolen Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

NEW BRAUNFELS – If you are missing a catalytic converter from your vehicle and you live in New Braunfels, police said they may be able to return your suspected stolen car part.

New Braunfels police arrested three people, two men and one woman, overnight Wednesday into Thursday after they were found with nine catalytic converters that a NBPD spokesman said “had obviously been stolen,” and equipment used to remove them from vehicles.

Thieves hoping to cash in on the precious metals inside the car parts typically cut them off the bottom of vehicles using battery-powered saws.

But while online jail records show the trio, who are all from Houston, were booked on a variety of charges, including unlawful use of a criminal instrument, none of them face a theft charge.

“So it’s not a crime to be in possession of catalytic converters as just an everyday person. And so that makes it difficult for law enforcement when you find somebody. You have to be able to prove that they’ve stolen it, and that’s where our job comes in to try and figure that out,” said NBPD Spokesman David Ferguson.

Ferguson said NBPD had received a call around 12:30 a.m. Thursday of “suspicious circumstances” in an apartment complex parking lot, and a red car was spotted leaving the scene. Police said all three people were found in a red Nissan car in the 200 block of Loop 337.

NBPD has put out a call to residents, asking anyone who had a catalytic converter stolen that night to contact them.

Are You Missing a Catalytic Convertor? Detectives with the New Braunfels Police Department are currently investigating...

Posted by New Braunfels Police Department on Thursday, May 5, 2022

As of Friday afternoon, Ferguson said NVPD had located four possible victims, generally from around the East Side of the city near Loop 337 and FM 306.

If NBPD is able to confirm a recovered catalytic converter was stolen off of a car, Ferguson said it would be returned to its owner.

Marc Meyer, the manager at Precision Alignment & Brake in New Braunfels, said a catalytic converter that had been cut off a vehicle could still be reattached and it would be a lot cheaper than having to replace it.

I mean, it’d probably be a difference of maybe $100, $200 labor versus having to buy all new ones,” Meyer said, though he noted there could be costs associated with repairing other damage caused by the theft.

Replacing the stolen parts can get expensive quickly. Toyota Tundras, for example, are a popular target, Meyer said.

“There’s actually four catalytic converters and then two 02 sensors. They all get stolen all at the same time. That repair is in the neighborhood of $1,600 on the low end.”

Ferguson said catalytic converter thefts are not new to the area, and NBPD has even been seeing a rise in daylight thefts.

“And so, if you hear a sawzall going off in the middle of the day in a parking lot, maybe call police, call the non-emergency number, let us know. We can send an officer by to check it out,” Ferguson said.

Anyone in the area near the Ranch at the Guadalupe apartment complex who had a catalytic converter stolen overnight is urged to contact Detective J. Meier at 830-221-4165.

About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.