Shot fired during attempted catalytic converter theft in Wallingford
WALLINGFORD, CT (WFSB) - One of three suspects interrupted while trying to steal a catalytic converter in Wallingford fired a shot at a victim, according to police.
Wallingford officers said they responded to 69 South Turnpike Rd. on March 27 around 2:35 a.m. for a reported “shots fired” incident.
The victim interrupted the theft of catalytic converters.
The person reported that the suspects were males who wore ski masks and dark clothing.
One of them chambered and fired a round from an unknown type of handgun, the victim told police.
“Last night obviously the victim came out and encountered some suspects who brandished a firearm and fired off two rounds to deter him from stopping them,” said Wallingford Police Sgt. Stephen Jaques.
A man who was on the property heard noise outside and came out to see what was going on.
He witnessed some men trying to take off a catalytic converter on a van parked outside. Luckily the man wasn’t hurt. The men put the converter in their car and took off.
Police say nobody was hurt.
Joe Franchi works next door. He’s aware theft of catalytic converters has become a big problem.
“It’s horrible…it’s horrible,” said Franchi.
In 2018 there were over 1,200 thefts nationwide, and in two years well over 14,000.
This Manchester car dealer has been hit twice in one month.
Back in January, police say 15 cars at Lynch Toyota were damaged after thieves sawed off their catalytic converters. Then less than two later, nine more cars were damaged.
The suspects fled in a brown 2011 or newer Honda Accord with a possible Massachusetts plate.
Wallingford police sought to remind people to call the police as soon as possible when a crime is witnessed.
“It’s always best to let police handle a dangerous situation,” police wrote in a news release. “However, always use extreme caution when making a decision to confront someone committing a crime.”
A lot of converters are being stolen outside homes from people’s driveways.
Jaques said there are things you can do to prevent this from happening to you.
“If you’re a business owner or just a private citizen, put your car in your garage that’s a good start. If you’re a business you can install security cameras, or fencing up on your property to protect vehicles. Park vehicles close to the road or citizens driving by can see your vehicles. You can mark catalytic converter with it’s vin number, or some guards out there you can buy as well,” said Jaques.
Those guards are also called shields and can be put on by you or a mechanic. You can also paint the converter which is a sign to junk yards that it may have been stolen.
Insurance companies, which are covering the costs of stolen converters, are pushing for legislations to make junk yards to do their part.
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives in Wallingford at 203-294-2846.
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