Spokane police have arrested a man accused of stealing a catalytic converter from a used car dealership Monday amid a recent spree of similar thefts citywide.
Robert Evans, 38, was charged Monday with felony theft and trafficking of stolen property after police said witnesses saw Evans steal the part that morning from a vehicle parked at Sweat Shop Auto Sales on North Market Street.
The arrest comes just after the Spokane Police Department alerted the public last week to an increase in such thefts across the city. Police said catalytic converters are valuable because they contain precious metals, such as platinum, palladium or rhodium. The prices of those metals, police added, are rapidly rising.
Victims of catalytic converter thefts are asked to report the incident to Crime Check at (509) 456-2233. People contacted by those buying (not from an auto parts store) or selling converters are encouraged to call Crime Check as well.
With Monday’s arrest, police said video shows Evans pulling into the Sweat Shop parking lot around 8 a.m. After walking around the lot, Evans got under a vehicle and possibly used a saw to take its catalytic converter, according to the police department. Police said Evans then got back into his vehicle and fled the scene.
Hours later, employees called 911 after locating Evans’ vehicle parked in a lot at East Wellesley Avenue and North Crestline Street, according to police. They said Evans and a female passenger were detained, though Evans provided officers with a fake name. He was also wearing the same clothes as those investigators reported on the security footage.
Police said there is a felony warrant out of Pasco for Evans’ arrest for the theft of a motor vehicle.
Investigators learned Evans sold the catalytic converter to another person for $50, according to the police department. Police said Evans was found with the $50 on his person; the money was returned to the purchaser, while the catalytic converter was returned to the owners.
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