HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Police are emphasizing the importance of taking steps to prevent catalytic converter thefts after officers made a bizarre discovery Wednesday night while responding to a theft call in northeast Houston.
Houston police said they were responding to the 4400 block of Lockwood just before 6 p.m. When they arrived, police found two suspects and what appeared to be "several hundred" stolen catalytic converters.
Officers arrested 30-year-old Dorrell Robinson and 41-year-old Ibrahima Basse. For now, Robinson is charged with felon in possession of a weapon and Bassee is charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon.
The hundreds of catalytic converters were found in the back of what appears to be a rental truck at an auto salvage lot in the Kashmere Gardens neighborhood.
"The two males were stealing catalytic converters. Officers responded to the location and located two males," Lt. Larry Crowson said. "They found what we believe to be 300-400 stolen catalytic converters."
Catalytic converter thefts have become a hot topic as thieves keep going after them. According to a report earlier this month, there's been a massive increase in this type of theft in the city of Houston.
Houston police said that in 2018, there were only 85 reported incidents of catalytic converter thefts in the city. In 2019, there were 375. In 2020, there were 1,793. By the end of June 2021, officers said there were 2,207 reported incidents.
Police said that unfortunately, since none of the recovered catalytic converters have serial numbers or identifiable markings, it is unlikely any of them can be linked to their owners.
In order to prevent thefts, officers offer three pieces of advice: "Etch it - paint it - cover it."
Police recommend etching your VIN or license plate number into the converter, painting it with bright, high temperature paint or installing a skid plate or large cover.
Thieves can resell catalytic converters for as much as $1,000 a piece, depending on the type. It can cost theft victims $3,000 - $10,000 to replace them or repair damage.
According to police, the following vehicles are the most highly targeted in catalytic converter thefts: