A person was crushed to dying whereas allegedly trying to steal a catalytic convertor from automobile at a Savannah, Georgia, automotive lot, police mentioned.

Officers had been referred to as on March 7 after the person, Matthew Eric Smith, 32, was discovered useless beneath a automotive, the Chatham County Police Division mentioned in a launch.

“Proof on the scene signifies that the person was killed whereas he was illegally eradicating a catalytic converter from the automobile, and the automobile fell on prime of him,” the discharge learn.

Catalytic converter theft has skyrocketed across the nation lately, in response to the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau, surging greater than 1,200% since 2019.

The converters, which cut back air pollution and poisonous gasoline from a automobile’s emissions, are comparatively straightforward to steal and include invaluable valuable metals similar to palladium, platinum and rhodium.

Final 12 months, federal, state and native legislation enforcement carried out a “coordinated takedown” of a multimillion-dollar community of catalytic converter thieves, sellers and processors that led to 21 arrests in 5 states, the Justice Division mentioned in a November launch.

“A few of these valuable metals are extra invaluable per ounce than gold and their worth has been growing lately,” the division mentioned. “The black-market value for catalytic converters might be above $1,000 every, relying on the kind of automobile and what state it’s from. They are often stolen in lower than a minute.”

Final 12 months, in response to police, 39 catalytic convertors had been stolen from automobiles in unincorporated Chatham County.

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