Nederland Police step up high school presence after catalytic converter thefts

Published 12:38 am Tuesday, April 26, 2022

NEDERLAND — While Nicholas Cage’s character in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds focused on stealing 50 cars in that time frame, thieves in Nederland likely took 90 seconds each to take catalytic converters from two trucks at Nederland High School.

But then again, the Nederland thieves had to use cutting devices in their work.

Police in Nederland are stepping up their presence around the high school and have obtained video of the suspect vehicle, which they are investigating now. They are asking anyone who might have video of the crime to contact them.

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Nederland Police Chief Gary Porter said they got a call at approximately 3:40 p.m. Thursday for the thefts in the north side parking lot nearest Spurlock Road.

Porter said normally in crimes such as this there are two people involved; one who drives the suspect vehicle and another who gets out, crawls under the victim’s vehicle, uses a reciprocating saw and cuts the catalytic converter from the vehicle. The suspect then waits for the get-away vehicle to come back around, tosses the part in the trunk and leaves.

“It takes probably 90 seconds to saw it off and drop it to the ground,” Porter said.

The vehicles damaged were a 2021 Toyota Tacoma and a 2014 Toyota Tacoma.

Porter said the catalytic converter thefts are sporadic in the city and most of the time the thieves are not from this area. Though he can’t say for sure if the ones associated with last week’s crimes are from out of town.

In February, four Houston men were indicted for gang activity after reportedly cutting catalytic converters from vehicles at a Beaumont apartment complex.

Those suspects’ vehicle was stopped by police who reportedly found six catalytic converters during a search of the car. One of the suspects had a saw blade on him and there were several reciprocating saws on the back floorboard.

Last August, a Port Arthur man was indicted for metal theft after he had been found hiding under a car at a business with a bag containing two catalytic converters.

Also in August 2021, three Louisiana men were arrested for metal theft that reportedly occurred at bent Tree Apartments in Port Arthur.