Suspect caught on video stealing catalytic converter - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Suspect caught on video stealing catalytic converter

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STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (KTTC) -- Scott Tjepkes is looking at a bill of at least $350 to fix his truck after someone stole the catalytic convertor on Tuesday morning just before 10 a.m.

Tjepkes says, "I never dreamed it would happen in broad daylight in a busy parking lot."

While the suspect left with the converter, Scott's truck was left with a hefty amount of damage.

Tjepkes explains, "Unfortunately, the way they cut it off, you're probably going to end up replacing half to all of your exhaust system because they cut it in some different places and they can't just put another one right back on again."

The Grounds Coordinator for Stewartville Public schools was parked at the high school in the north lot when this person, captured on surveillance video, slipped under the truck and removed it.

Sgt. Tom Claymon with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office says, "He wasn't there very long. He obviously knew what he was doing. He was able to get in there, remove the catalytic converter and move on."

The security system at the school was installed a few years ago and offers a look inside as well as all around the building.

Stewartville High School Principal Bruce Hoff says, "We'd have no clue or anything to go on but in this particular case it did get the image of the individual."

Thefts of catalytic converters have been a problem for awhile and it's probably not going away. Typically thieves are looking to sell the parts as scrap metal but it's not copper, it's platinum they're after.

Tjepkes says, "They get anywhere from $80-$150 for a converter. I suppose, if they're desperate enough they'll do just about anything."

The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office hopes someone will recognize this suspect who was dressed like a student wearing a hoodie and a backpack.

Tjepkes says, "I thought well you know, if they needed the money bad enough I would have given them $100 for it and at least I would still have the exhaust system on my truck."

If you have any information call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

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