Man arrested for stealing catalytic converters from Bluffton car dealership

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A 25-year old man is charged with stealing catalytic converters from a Bluffton car dealership.

Jordan Taylor Meeks is charged with theft of nonferrous metal.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office arrested Meeks at Stokes Toyota earlier this week. It is welcomed news to nearby dealership owners.

“I was happy to read that. It’s really, really good. Anytime they catch a criminal it is good because they sell these things for a fraction of what they are worth,” O.C. Welch said.

Catalytic converters are being stolen all over the country because they are made of a rare and valuable metal and can be disconnected quickly. Dealerships have been hit numerous times. Like at O.C Welch Ford—they have had the part stolen off 14 cars in the past several months.

“For three or four months ago, it was cars getting hit every night, you know multiple dealerships both sides of the road,” Welch said.

Stealing catalytic converters from a dealership slows down the car buying process. Officials say what once was ready to roll, now must go to service.

“Well, you have to get new converters you have to order them, sometimes they are on backorder, and you can’t sell them until you replace them,” Welch said.

He says that can cost about $4,000 to fix while the part sells for a few hundred dollars. O.C Welch says he’s hopeful South Carolina’s new law will help.

The new law means those convicted of buying or selling a stolen catalytic converter could face up to three years in prison.

“If the end user wasn’t buying then the crime wouldn’t be committed,” Welch said.

While it’s unclear if the suspect arrested by the sheriff’s office is connected to other stolen parts, O.C. Welch says they filed police reports with Jasper County.

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