HOUSTON — Two people are in custody after investigators say they were caught stealing catalytic converters off vehicles in an outlet mall parking lot Friday.
According to the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office, the men were stealing the catalytic converters in the parking lot of the Houston Premium Outlets in the 29000 block of the Northwest Freeway.
Editor's note: video above is one we posted earlier this year detailing steps you can take to prevent catalytic converter thefts.
When deputies responded, they say the suspects took off. They were stopped a short time later. In their car, investigators say there were catalytic converters and tools worth around $9,000.
The constable’s office posted photos of several catalytic converters they said they recovered. They say they were taken from vehicles at the outlet mall and other nearby businesses.
Investigators say one of the suspects was out on bond for charges of injury to a child, aggravated robbery and unlawful carrying of a weapon.
Both suspects were booked into the Harris County Jail, charged with felony theft of metals.
Preventing catalytic converter thefts
The cost of replacing a stolen converter can be anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. Some vehicles have as many as four converters.
Here are a few tips police said will lessen your chances of becoming a victim:
- Park in well-lighted areas
- Park in your garage
- Etch your VIN or license plate into your converters
- Use bright high-temp paint (lets police know converter has been marked)
- Install a skid plate or large cover to the bottom of your vehicle
- Upgrade car alarms to activate when the vehicle is jacked up on one side
- Aftermarket products like straps or wire cages make it much more difficult for your converter to be cut off