CLICK TO READ: Another church van among latest round of catalytic converter thefts


Image captured by "Seth Sawyer" on Flickr

Pastor Ernest Franklin, who many around town may remember from his teaching and coaching days at Baldwin High, started up his church's van late last week and immediately "heard a loud sound coming from the vehicle," according to an incident report.

The incident occurred at New Beginnings Worship Center, located in the old Southside school off of the Vinson Highway. Upon further observation, both of the van's catalytic converters were sawed off and removed, adding to the Milledgeville Police Department's growing database.

The New Beginnings church van marked the third church van catalytic converter theft in the last month, joining two in Harrisburg. 

Meanwhile, another catalytic converter theft was reported Monday in the Revelry Flats college apartments across from the Centennial Center. There likely were more in the complex, based on the fact that victims rarely realize the theft until they later crank up their vehicle.

The recent rash of catalytic converter thefts seems to be focused around the student apartment complexes downtown, as well as Hardwick.

Being hit hardest, however, are repair shops. At least five local auto repair shops have reported catalytic converter thefts so far this calendar year, most notably Dean's Garage on South Wayne Street below Georgia Military College, which reported a whopping 18 in one night last month.

Perhaps even more brazen, the catalytic converter was cut off from the daycare bus at Miller Plaza Learning Center on North Wayne Street recently. As is often the case, the vehicle's owner didn't realize the theft until he cranked up the bus and heard a really loud and abnormal sound coming from the undercarriage.

In terms of the thefts last month at Dean's Garage, "someone cut a hole in the fence at the back side of the building" and "dug a hole" before gaining access to the vehicles on the property.

Also reporting catalytic converter thefts so far this year have been Pittman's Automotive on West Hancock Street, Capitol Transmission on South Jefferson, Certified Transmission on South Wayne, as well as Norris Wheel & Brake on East Hancock.

Although catalytic converters are a relatively obscure part of a vehicle, they are not cheap, thanks to the amount of "precious metals" that they're built with. A more common catalytic converter can be sold for around $100 or $200 at a scrap yard, while some less common and more in-demand ones can fetch more than a thousand dollars.

Anyone with any information on the recent thefts is asked to call the Milledgeville Police Department at 414-4000 or the anonymous tip line at 414-4413

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