On March 7th Matthew Eric Smith, 32, was fatally crushed while attempting to steal a catalytic converter from a vehicle at a car lot in Savannah, Georgia.
According to the Chatham County Police Department, the vehicle had been propped up by Smith to steal the device, causing it to fall and fatally crush him.
The thefts and sales of catalytic converters have risen exponentially in recent years due to their treasurable content.
Indeed, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported a 1200 percent surge in thefts involving the device since 2019. Inside of a device that is smaller than the size of a shoebox often lies the valuables such as palladium, platinum and rhodium. These can be worth up to $1000 depending on the vehicle type and state of origin.
Law enforcement agencies are actively trying to put an end to this activity. Last year a “coordinated takedown” took place that resulted in 21 arrests in five states. In that same year, 39 catalytic converters were reported stolen in unincorporated county of Chatham, Georgia.