You know times are getting tough when society’s derelicts stop burglarizing homes and robbing gas stations and begin stealing catalytic converters off of cars and electrocuting themselves trying to get copper wire off power lines.
Actually, from the incessant loud vehicles driving throughout some ares of West Virginia, I wasn’t aware that there were that many cars around that still had catalytic converters. It must be a right-of-passage for many high school sophomores or juniors to buy a 90’s model Mustang or F-150, and take off the muffler and catalytic converter, to therefore make it excruciatingly annoying to everyone else around them. Then, once they are off, they are pretty much off for good.
In the Register-Herald today, there was a story that police have arrested five members of a catalytic converter theft ring. Their names were Billy Jack Smith, 23, of Midway, Billy Price, 25, of Coal City, Nicholas Dale Bragg, 21, of Beckley, and Jeremy Allen Sanger, 25, of Hilltop.
They were charged with grand larceny, which is basically stealing something worth more than $1,000. What is the value of a catalytic converter? Are they basing the value of the catalytic converters on their black market value? Their individual prices if bought as new? The cost for buying a new one and installing it on the victim’s vehicle? That may be a jury issue. If either of the defendants can convince the jury that, although they stole the converters, the value was under $1,000, they would only be convicted of misdemeanors.
Read the full article here.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.