Catalytic converter cut from couple’s van in busy shopping center

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Shoppers one minute and crime victims the next. A woman said she saw a thief drive away with a catalytic converter cut from her van in broad daylight.

Alicia Kerner said it happened yesterday just after 5 p.m. at the Target at Glendale Town Center, just off Keystone Parkway.

“It’s embarrassing,” she said, referring to the sound of her vehicle, “We got in the car, started it up, and you can hear us a mile away now.”

Kerner said she and her husband came out of the store and saw a large white truck or SUV by their Honda Odyssey van.

She said the two saw a black man drop something and then get back in his vehicle and drive away. Kerner believes there were two men involved.

Kerner and her husband didn’t find anything missing in their car, but they quickly heard the damage once they cranked it up.

“We’ve gone to that Target thousands of times, and nothing’s ever happened,” she said.

Jerry Medlen at Ralph’s Muffler on Keystone Avenue said catalytic converter thefts are common. In fact, he repairs at least three or four cars a week.

“It is increasing, yes, because it’s so easy to sell them,” he said.

Medlen said thieves look for the platinum inside and sell the converter for scrap. That’s where police said the suspects usually get caught.

“They have to deposit those things somewhere, and that’s the big clue for us,” said Officer Christopher Wilburn, with IMPD.

A crook can get $60 for a swiped converter, Medlen said, but the heist costs the consumer about $500 dollars or more to fix.

“It takes a saw. They’re under there three minutes and cut it off,” he said.

Kerner said she’s confident that more witnesses saw what happened.

“That’s the crazy thing. How did no one see that? Maybe they can get (it) off in ten seconds, but someone still had to see something,” she said.

Kerner and her husband got a license plate number and filed a report with IMPD.

Police said even if you don’t catch the theft in the act, it’s still important to file a report, so there is a record that it occurred.

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