Rochester Residents Thwart Brazen Catalytic Converter Thefts
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- Rochester Police are investigating three Twin Cities men suspected of stealing a catalytic converter and attempting to take the car part in two other incidents Saturday morning in Rochester.
Police Captain Casey Moilanen said officers were dispatched to a residence in the 1500 block of 16th Ave. Northwest shortly before 7:20 a.m. A man reported coming home after dropping his wife off at work and seeing his Toyota Prius being jacked up in the driveway.
The man told officers he ran out to confront the suspects, who took off in what police described as a getaway vehicle. Moilanen said the man gave officers a license plate number and description of the vehicle.
Less than an hour later, officers responded to a home in the 5700 block of Long Boat Rd. in Northwest Rochester on the report of a man confronting individuals he saw jacking up his Toyota Prius. The caller told police the suspects took off in a vehicle and gave officers a description that matched the vehicle from the call police responded to an hour earlier.
Moilanen said a third Toyota Prius was targeted by what’s believed to be the same thieves. A 27-year-old woman reported her car was parked at Good Dog Camp in the 600 block of 7th St. Northwest between 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The woman reported her catalytic converter had been stolen after she started her vehicle Saturday afternoon.
Moilanen said an officer then spotted the suspect vehicle at the Holiday gas station at the Hwy. 52/55th St. Northwest interchange Saturday afternoon. Officers performed a traffic stop and found five of the emission control devices and a saw in the vehicle.
Police arrested three occupants in the vehicle, described as 23-year-old man from North St. Paul, a 29-year-old man from St. Paul and a 35-year-old man from St. Paul. Moilanen said the suspects were interviewed then released because investigators could not tie them to the theft and attempted thefts. He said the police department will continue to investigate the recovered converters.
Anyone who may have had a catalytic converter stolen over the weekend is asked to contact Rochester Police. A police spokeswoman said community members can pick up free catalytic converter marking kits at the Law Enforcement Center in downtown Rochester or at the Rochester Police Department’s North Precinct.
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