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Catalytic Converter Thieves Target Apartment Complexes

Three separate victims report thefts on same day across Stow

Three motorists are out several hundred dollars after thieves stole the catalytic converter from their car's exhaust.

Drivers whose cars were parked at three separate apartment complexes spread throughout Stow reported thefts of the exhaust component from their cars on the same day.

Catalytic converters, used to purify exhaust fumes, are built with precious metals such as platinum and secured by only a few bolts in most cases. The components can be sold for scrap at a high profit.

Julie Schmeida, a resident of Robinwood Apartments off Graham Road, found her converter stolen when she started her Honda Accord on the morning of April 19 when she was getting ready to take her daughter to school.

During the night, someone cut the converter off her car while it was parked at the complex.

"I started the car and it sounded like a motorcycle," Schmeida said. "They used some type of jack to jack my car up. Underneath the passenger seat the floor was pushed up. They sawed off all the way from the (oxygen) sensor to the mid point exhaust pipe."   

Schmeida got stuck with a $1,600 repair bill, which fortunately was covered by her insurance company after she paid her deductible.

A resident of Partridge Run Apartments off Fishcreek Road told Stow Police that someone cut the catalytic converter from his 2003 Chevy Cavalier some time on April 19 while it was parked in the apartment complex.

The third victim, a Kent woman whose 2000 Chevy Cavalier was parked at Bridgewater Park Apartments, told police that, like the other victims, someone cut the converter out while her car was parked at the complex.

John Williams, the assistant manager at Monro Muffler/Brake, said he's only seen a few theft repairs at Monro recently as area scrap yards have stopped buying the components because they were often stolen merchandise.

"It almost doesn't make sense for people to keep stealing them," he said.

Williams said it's tough to prevent a catalytic converter theft other than by parking your car in a garage — if you have one — or installing an alarm.

Schmeida, who doesn't have access to a garage, said she's thinking about investing in a car alarm to try and deter thieves.

"Whomever is closest apartment-wise would hear my alarm going off," she said. "Anybody who has a Honda in Stow, if you can, I know some people like to park a lot in the driveways, but for the time being maybe housing it in the garage would be smart."

Castor Troy May 02, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Thanks for this article. It's about time someone shined some light on all the theft going on in this city. The violation of ones personal property is not a good feeling. I'm fortunate I have a garage now, but for years my car was either in a driveway or in an apartment parking lot. I swore I wouldn't be a victim to some punk kids, so I still have my car alarm that will wake the dead.
Matt Fredmonsky May 02, 2013 at 03:22 PM
It seems either a garage or a car alarm are the best ways to deter catalytic converter thieves.
JIM May 03, 2013 at 03:07 AM
I had mine stolen off of my Honda Accord on the same night from my apartment in Kent.
Nolan Thrice May 05, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Nice attempt to make it sound like Stow is soooo riddled with crime with your "all of the theft going on this city". But, you failed (unless you were pandering to the over-dramatic, ignorant folks). This particular problem goes on EVERYWHERE and has been a significant problem over the past few years. Ask car dealers. Also, thefts happen everywhere, too. Stow isn't exempt from crime anymore than Hudson or Beachwood.
Castor Troy May 05, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Nolan, theft is the most prevalent crime in this city. I've read the statistics and I believe that it deserves attention. Get your self righteousness in check and bring something to the table besides a straw man. I find you to be awfully dull as of late.

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