A suspected catalytic converter thief in the South El Monte area of Los Angeles found out the hard way that crime doesn’t pay early on Friday morning when a resident of the home walked outside and confronted multiple thieves in progress with a kitchen knife.
According to CBS News, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies found a man stabbed to death at the scene when the responded to a call at 2:37 in the morning on Friday.
The resident of the house reportedly told the sheriff’s deputies that he was sleeping when he heard people tampering with his car outside. He did the brave thing and walked outside to investigate what was going on and confront the suspected thieves. An altercation ensued in which one of the. suspected thieves was stabbed to death and the other suspects fled.
Speaking to the media, a sheriff’s deputy said that the thieves’ tools found at the scene indicate that they were attempting to steal catalytic converters from the cars.
Describing what happened in an alert sent to the community, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said (the statement has been condensed into paragraph form):
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Investigators are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a male adult. Deputies from Temple Sheriff’s Station responded to the 11200 block of Thienes Avenue in the city of South El Monte regarding a stabbing at the location. The incident occurred on Friday, April 21, 2023, at approximately 2:37 AM.
When deputies arrived on scene, they located a Hispanic male, 45-50 years of age, suffering from a stab wound to his upper torso. The decedent was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Investigators learned that the decedent along with possibly two other suspects were attempting to steal vehicle parts from a vehicle parked in the driveway of the location. During the incident, a resident from the home exited the front door and was confronted by the suspects when the stabbing took place.
That individual is currently being detained for further questioning. The remaining suspects were last seen entering a small compact vehicle and driving east on Thienes Avenue and out of view. The investigation is ongoing, and currently there is no additional information.
USA Today reported on the increase in catalytic converter theft recently, saying, “In 2022, thefts nationwide were 540% higher than all of 2020, public data company BeenVerified found. Thieves are slipping under cars to swipe catalytic converters, those pollution-control gadgets that contain precious metals that are in growing demand because of car emissions rules.”
Continuing, it noted that New York has been particularly hard hit, saying, “[Some] hard-hit states are seeing surges. New York, for example, saw a 183.82% increase year over year and was up 9,386.36% in 2022 from 2019.”
The precious metals in catalytic converters are palladium, rhodium, and platinum, all of which have shot up in price as inflation has risen and their need has increased because of their usefulness in emissions-limiting catalytic converters.
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