Branson Police Department sees increase in catalytic converter thefts

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 4:22 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - A crime trend hitting several cities around the Ozarks is now hitting Branson. Police officers in Branson have seen a spike recently in catalytic converter thefts.

One auto shop owner says he was hit twice in the last three weeks.

Alberto Rodriguez is the owner of Topmaster Auto in Branson, where two catalytic converters were stolen from cars on his lot. He say thieves have tried to steal a third.

”One day, I noticed on this car right here, I found a jack, like a bottle jack. And I was like, ‘Oh snap, that may be my catalytic converter,’ but they weren’t able to steal this,” Rodriguez said.

A couple days later, thieves stole from another car that he had on the lot. That same week, Rodriguez’s own car broke down on Highway 65.

”Left it there for a night, and by the time I picked it up, they stole it from Highway 65,” Rodriguez said.

He said he does have cameras installed for his business, but the thieves are experienced.

“They are really tricky when they walk through. They are making sure the cameras do not snap because you can see when the camera is on with the light that they’ve got,” Rodriguez said.

Branson Police Officer Darold Donathan said there are a few things you can do to turn thieves away.

”Be aware of where you’re parking. If at all possible, park somewhere well lit,” Donathan said.

He recommends marking your catalytic converter.

”In a unique way, where we can identify them,” said Donathan. “I don’t suggest anyone using personal information when marking it, but in some way where you can look at it.”

He said often times these thefts go unreported.

”What can they do about it? Once it’s gone it gone,” Rodriguez said.

Donathan said by reporting it, they can monitor the area that’s seeing an increase in thefts.

”We’re working together with the community and with our neighbors. If you see anything suspicious, call and report that to the local police department,” Donathan said.

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