Police investigate 15 catalytic converter thefts

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Chesapeake police are investigating after they say someone stole more than a dozen catalytic converters from Southeast Connections, a contractor for Virginia Natural Gas.

Shop manager Shawn Ellis said it happened between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 29.

“Come in Monday morning, come to work, a lot of the guys are getting ready to go to work, checking the trucks out, none of the trucks would start,” Ellis said.

Photos: Catalytic converters taken from trucks

He said the thieves removed 15 catalytic converters from underneath their diesel trucks.

“It was sickening,” Ellis said.

Replacing the equipment cost the company around $80,000, and as many as 80 employees couldn’t work for a few days.

“The guys are losing money out of their pockets. They’re not able to feed their families. They’re not able to provide proper like they normally do. Lost revenue is thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars,” Ellis said.

Ellis said whoever took the converters did so in less than three hours and cut a fence to get them off the property. The fence has been repaired, and all but two of the converters have been replaced in the trucks.

“Estimated cost on these are between four and six thousand dollars, depending on the truck, year, and model,” Ellis said.

Ellis said he thinks the thieves were familiar with the property.

“I think somebody has cased the area from time to time and knows what our work times are and know what goes on here,” Ellis said.

Now he just wants someone to come forward and speak up.

“Somebody out there knows who did it. Somebody knows who’s buying these. Somebody knows what’s going on. Man up, step up, do the right thing. Report these people,” Ellis said.

Ellis said the company typically has a security guard working on the property, but they didn’t that Sunday afternoon. They have since changed that.

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