Baton Rouge Man Arrested in Rash of Catalytic Converter Thefts in Lafayette
Catalytic converter thefts have been happening across the state over the past year and Lafayette Parish has not been immune to it.
All across South Louisiana - from Opelousas to Eunice and from Rayne to Iowa - criminals have been stealing these very valuable parts from vehicles at homes and at dealerships. The widespread thefts have even gotten the attention of lawmakers.
What is a Catalytic Converter?
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a catalytic converter is "an automobile exhaust-system component containing a catalyst that causes conversion of harmful gases (such as carbon monoxide and uncombusted hydrocarbons) into mostly harmless products (such as water and carbon dioxide)."
What Makes a Catalytic Converter so Valuable?
So, why are so many catalytic converters being stolen, not only across Acadiana but across the country as well? Fox 8 in Indiana recently dug deep to answer that question. Here is what they found:
Inside a catalytic converter are three valuable metals, platinum, rhodium and palladium...Those who steal catalytic converters try to sell them once they remove the part from the car. They can be sold for up to $150, depending on the size of the converter.
Huge Arrest Made by Lafayette Sheriff's Deputies
Detectives recently conducted a weeklong operation targeting the recent rash of catalytic converter thefts in Lafayette Parish, conducting surveillances at numerous locations in the parish.
While doing so, detectives say they noticed a vehicle matching the description provided as a vehicle of interest in a previous catalytic converter theft. When officers conducted a traffic stop, they learned the driver - 24-year-old Tyland Charles of Baton Rouge - had numerous active warrants from multiple jurisdictions. Some of these warrants are for cases involving catalytic converter thefts.
Detectives say the catalytic converter theft bust also became a drug bust when they found a variety of Schedule I drugs that they believed were packaged to be distributed.
Charles was booked into the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office for the following offenses:
- Possession with intent to distribute Schedule I CDS (3 counts)
- Possession of a Schedule I CDS
- Monies derived from drug proceeds
- Two outstanding warrants for Simple Criminal Damage to Property and Theft
- Two outstanding warrants for Grand Theft of an Automobile (Florida)
- Two outstanding warrants for Burglary of a Conveyance (Florida)
- Outstanding warrant for Possession of Burglary Tools (Florida)
- Outstanding warrant for Criminal Damage to Property (Florida)