Businesses fall victim to catalytic converter thefts

Officials with the Laurel County Sheriff's Office say three catalytic converters were cut from Budget rental trucks in a parking lot overnight. It's a problem that's become all too common.

"Probably in the last 2 or 3 months, we've had a dozen catalytic converters cut off business vehicles," says Deputy Gilbert Acciardo of the Laurel County Sheriff's Office.

Around 3:30 this morning, a security guard noticed a suspicious vehicle parked near the rental trucks in this parking lot along US 25E and called it in to the Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded quickly and pulled the vehicle over as it was leaving the parking lot.

"As soon as he walked up to the vehicle, he saw some tools that would be used to cut off catalytic converters and actually found one of the cut off catalytic converters in the trunk of the vehicle," says Acciardo.

Deputies arrested Carl Eldridge and Robert Kelly, charging them both with theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief. Deputy Gilbert Acciardo hopes the arrests will put a stop to the string of thefts.

"They're in jail now, so if we don't have a problem in the next several days, we're going to know we caught the bad guys," says Acciardo.

Deputy Acciardo says even non-profit organizations have fallen victim in this recent crime wave.

"You're hurting someone really bad when you hit the non-profits because they're barely surviving anyhow. They're not surviving for a profit. You hit their vehicles and you're hurting them really bad," he says.

Eldridge also had an outstanding warrant from Scott County for failure to appear on an assault charge.


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