Shooting victim confronted suspected catalytic converter thieves

MPs found a victim shot dead in the Avalon Newcastle apartment complex.

NEWCASTLE, Wash. – King County lawmakers are investigating a shooting in Newcastle after someone confronted three people who appeared to be trying to steal catalytic converters.

Just before 7am authorities were called over gunfire at the Avalon Newcastle apartment complex.

A suspicious vehicle with three people inside appeared to be roaming around stealing catalytic converters, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

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MPs said the victim walked out of a house and confronted the suspects, who opened fire. The victim also returned fire, authorities said.

Deputies found the victim shot in the leg with non-life threatening injuries.

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A new report from public data company BeenVerified indicates that Washington state has seen a 10,000% increase in catalytic converter thefts since 2019. According to the report, there have been more than 1,500 thefts in Washington. According to a consumer advocate from BeenVerified, the number of thefts in 2022 has surpassed 2019 and 2020 combined.

According to the report, Washington was the third-highest state in the nation for catalytic converter thefts per 100,000 cars. Washington ranked #1 on the same list in 2021.

These devices are stolen due to the material they are made of, which includes precious metals such as rhodium, palladium and platinum, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The metals are used to clean emissions from harmful compounds in cars, which is the actual function of the converter.

A person who steals a converter can get between $50 and $250, but repairing that theft can cost the car owner between $1,000 and $3,000, according to the NICB. Insurance doesn’t always cover repairs.

A law to combat catalytic converter theft went into effect on July 1. The law passed unanimously in the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee in late March.

The law requires companies to provide records of their transactions and pay catalysts through a traceable source such as checks rather than cash.

To prevent theft, car owners can purchase a catalytic converter anti-theft device. It is also recommended to park your car in a locked garage or in a well-lit transit area. BeenVerified suggested engraving your vehicle identification number (VIN) and phone number into the device. Shooting victim confronted suspected catalytic converter thieves

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