Thieves strike Martinez businesses, get 10 catalytic converters

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 9:36 AM EST
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MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Two Martinez businesses were hit earlier this week by catalytic converter thieves.

According to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the thefts happened at Newsome Electric on Landrum Court where seven catalytic converters were stolen.

Also in Martinez, at least three catalytic converters were stolen from Howell Electric on Wheeler Road.

Catalytic converters contain three metals that are high in value: platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

Within 30 minutes, Newsome Electrics Trucks lost their catalytic converters. What they were able to do within a half hour is costing this company thousands to replace.

“So it was roughly $2,000 plus tow, and to repair each vehicle,” said Owner Chris Newsome.

Newsome tells us what his workers found out just before 6 a.m.

“Crunk the first one up, and it was sounding horrible,” he said.

He says this goes beyond replacing missing parts.

“You get these vehicles to help make a living for the business but also for the individuals. So when these guys get here to come to work and go out to the different facilities, you know that does put a hindrance on the business for that day,” he said.

Even goes beyond just one day of work.

“So you keep these boys, you know, feeding their families. It definitely creates a struggle for the next couple of days while we work through this,” said Newsome.

Newsome tells us it takes about a day and a half to fix each truck.

We reached out to the sheriff’s office to see if these thefts are on a rise locally, but they couldn’t tell us because these particular thefts are grouped into a larger category.

According to officials, the incident report is “incomplete.”

When talking to Newsome, he says where he went to get repairs; they weren’t the only ones needing the same help he did.

The owner says he felt the area in the back was secure, but now he’s having to rethink security and looking to electrify the fence and add a guard dog to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Male driver suspect in catalytic converter thefts
Male driver suspect in catalytic converter thefts(wrdw)

Two male suspects were caught on camera entering through a fence in the back of Newsome Electric, where they proceeded to the work trucks.

A male driver was seen driving a silver Toyota, where he dropped off the two suspects next to a wooded area behind Newsome Electric and later returned to pick them up.

The vehicle is missing a hubcap on the rear right wheel.

If anyone has information on the suspects, please contact the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at 706-541-1042.