Saturday, June 22

Three Arrested For Catalytic Converter Thefts

ASHEBORO N.C. – Three people were arrested last Wednesday in connection with the theft of catalytic converters in Asheboro.

According to the Randolph County Sherriff’s Office on June 16, 2021, deputies responded to Old Cox Rd., Asheboro, after receiving a call about a burglary. The victim said someone had attempted to cut the catalytic converter from his vehicle and was able to describe several suspicious vehicles seen in the area. While the deputies were on taking the report, a vehicle matching the description was seen passing by. A deputy was able to catch up with the vehicle and pull it over. A found a power saw, handsaws, various tools, and a catalytic converter. In a second lucky break, while searching the vehicle, Randolph County 911 reported that another larceny of a catalytic converter on Old NC Hwy 13 was being reported and the description of the vehicle from that theft matched the description of the vehicle they had stopped and were searching. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Robbie Lee Ratliff and the passengers were identified as Robert Daniel Pugh and Jason Peter Pugh. All three subjects were arrested and transported to the Randolph County Jail. (See charges below) The Sherriff’s office says this case remains under investigation and additional charges may be forthcoming.

So what is a catalytic converter, and why are they worth stealing? It’s a device that’s on the exhaust of most gas or diesel vehicles that uses a catalyst to neutralize about 90% of the harmful gases in engine exhaust that contribute to air pollution and smog. Catalytic converters have been mandated in the U.S. since 1975.
The catalyst used in most catalytic converter is small amounts of very expensive and rare metals, usually platinum and or rhodium. As of the time of this article platinum is priced at $1,055.10 per oz and rhodium is priced at over $20,100.00 per oz. Thieves are not extracting these metals, but because of their rarity junkyards and recyclers pay top dollar for catalytic converters to sell them to processors who do extract the metals to make new catalytic converters.

How do you stop your catalytic converter from being stolen? The cheapest and easiest way is to avoid parking your vehicle somewhere a thief would be able to slide under and cut it off unnoticed. You can also engrave your vehicle’s VIN on the converter which makes it easier for police to locate if it is stolen. For a few hundred dollars some special cages and clamps will make it very difficult to cut off the convertor quickly or easily. Finally getting an aftermarket car alarm that is sensitive to vibration which would be triggered by the saw of someone trying to remove it.

Jason Peter Pugh

  • Two counts Felony Larceny of Motor Vehicle Parts
  • Misdemeanor Possession of Stolen Goods/Property.

$10,000 secured bond.

Robert Daniel Pugh

  • Two counts Felony Larceny of Motor Vehicle Parts
  • Misdemeanor Possession of Stolen Goods/Property
  • Served with an Order for arrest for Failure to Appear.

$15,000 secured bond.

Robbie Lee Ratliff

  • Felony Breaking and/or Entering
  • Felony Possession of Burglary Tools
  • Misdemeanor Possession of Stolen Goods/Property

$5,000 secured bond.

Header Photo Credit: Ahanix1989 at English Wikipedia