Man arrested for stealing catalytic converter

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Police arrested a man for stealing and selling a catalytic converter just hours prior.

Officers were called to a theft at Sweatshop Auto Sales Monday morning. Employees showed them surveillance video that captured a suspect, later identified as 38-year-old Robert Evans, pulling into the lot, walking around some vehicles.

“He kinda kneeled down a little bit next to it, so I thought that was kinda weird,” said Chris Sweat, owner of the shop. “Then he went to his car right after and grabbed a sawzall out from it and then went underneath the truck and cut the catalytic converter off.”

This is the first time Sweat has been hit by a thief,

“It’s definitely getting out of hand,” he said. “This is probably number 12 to 15 for catalytic converter thefts that we know of and so far the rest have been at night.”

Sweat said an employee started driving around, looking for the car matching the one in the video. The employee spotted a car matching the description in a Walgreens parking lot near Wellesley and Crestline.

Officers arrived and arrested Evans and a woman who was with him. Evans reportedly gave police a fake name due to having a felony warrant for his arrest, though he was wearing the same clothes from the surveillance video.

An investigation revealed that Evans sold the converter for $50, and Evans still had that cash on him. Officers recovered the converter and returned it to Sweat, and also returned the $50 to the person who bought the converter from Evans.

Sweat said he’s spent around $8,000 in replacement converters and security systems. Some of the cars haven’t been repaired yet.

He wants not only the people stealing the parts to be responsible, but the people buying them.

“The people that are buying it are fueling it,” Sweat explained. “They need to be accountable for purchasing stolen materials.”

Evans was booked into the Spokane County Jail for felony theft and trafficking stolen property.

Spokane Police issued a warning just last week, noting an increase in catalytic converter theft across the city. They say they are still investigating previous thefts.

“We’re hanging on there, but not by much,” Sweat said. “If this continues, we’re probably going to end up closing up. We just can’t absorb these kind of hits anymore.”

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