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Raytown auto shop hopes recent catalytic converter bust helps stop thefts

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Posted at 9:28 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 23:31:21-05

RAYTOWN, Mo. — Catalytic converter thefts are a quick crime costing people thousands of dollars.

“They can be underneath the car for 60 seconds and have a converter in their hands, make a couple of hundred dollars,” said Tom Hadley, All American Auto owner.

Hadley's parking lot is no stranger to crime.

“It’s almost an everyday occurrence,” he said.

In October, he told KSHB 41 News he was at a loss of how to combat the issue.

“There’s not much more I can do,” Hadley told KSHB 41 last fall. “I don’t know what else I can do.”

While his signs are still up, he says criminals are doing more than just breaking in.

“I just had one [stolen] a week and a half ago on a Jeep Grand Cherokee,” he said. “You start the car up, and it sounds like a race car it’s so loud, it echoes off everybody’s house."

But Hadley is hopeful thefts may be slowing down after a recent indictment in Independence.

A man who owns J & J Recycling shop was indicted for selling $11 million worth of stolen catalytic converters in three years, with many sold to metro scrap shops.

“It’s a glimmer of hope,” Hadley said. “That’s a lot of money, and a lot of heartache, including myself.”

The "heartache" includes Cheryl White, who said she's been targeted multiple times.

“A week after Tom Hadley fixed it for $2800, they came and got it again,” she said. “I had been hit three times within a six-week time period. I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Hadley said he could sympathize with White's agony.

“To look at someone’s face and they are crying because they can’t pay for it? What gives a person a right to take that?” he said.

While she never imagined being targeted at all, being targeted three times left White feeling "violated."

“I’m sad, I’m angry, I felt violated," White said. "I thought, 'I’m a senior citizen. I’m 72 years old. And it’s me you had to pick to steal from?'”

Hadley hopes with criminals reprimanded, the quick cash turnarounds will be, too.

“I think it’s going to slow it down a bit,” he said.