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JC Police Arrest Catalytic Converter Theft Suspects

Typical double catalytic converter model being stolen by sawing off from under vehicles with $100 portable saw. Converter replacement cost from $3,500 to $15,000 depending on the model. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

High Speed Chase ends in Crash, Capture

By Allan Jamail

JACINTO CITY, TX. – April 1, 2022, before noon, it was no April Fool’s Day for two suspects when they came into Jacinto City to steal catalytic converters. There is a nationwide epidemic of stealing expensive catalytic converters for resale. Because they’re made of rare materials there’s a big resale market for them. Thieves can steal them in less than 5 minutes from under vehicles in home driveways and parking lots using a $100 portable saw.

Jacinto City Police Communication’s Officer E. Perez, after receiving a call from a witness of a theft in progress, quickly dispatched patrol units to the shopping center at 11420 I-10 East Service Road to investigate. Officers arriving were informed of 2 black males leaving in a silver Chevrolet Malibu eastbound after having gone under a vehicle in the parking lot and removing its catalytic converters.

Jacinto City’s police units converged into the area and were informed by citizens that the police reportee was following the suspect’s car and gave the dispatcher the license plate number and location it was last seen. Officers swarmed that area, and one of the police units spotted the get-a-way car and gave chase using the emergency lights and siren. The suspects refused to stop and recklessly sped at high rates of speed through the parking lots in the 12,800 block of the East Service Road.

Several police units got involved and gave chase. At Sam’s Club, Home Depot and Academy Sporting Goods, while the chase was in progress, there were lots of shopper pedestrians, making it difficult for the pursuing officers, who did not want to hit anyone. The suspects refused to stop and endangered the pedestrians’ lives by driving fast and recklessly trying to evade the pursuing police units. The fleeing vehicle drove to the back west side of Academy, where it joins the bayou, and the passenger suspect jumped out and ran. He jumped into the bayou water while the driver suspect continued fleeing by car. An officer on foot behind Academy gave chase and finally took the suspect from the bayou into custody.

The fleeing vehicle still being chased began driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic on Uvalde and crashed into a telephone pole and another citizen’s car, causing heavy damage and immobilizing his getaway-car. The suspect jumped out and fled on foot with officers in hot pursuit until they captured him.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office charged suspect Kelvin Fitgerald Venson, a black male, age 21, with Felony Criminal Mischief and Felony Evading Police. They also charged Jerald Gray, a black male, age 19, with Felony Criminal Mischief and Misdemeanor Evading Police. The estimate of damage to car where the converters were taken is, $7, 965.00.

The outstanding police work was done by: Lt. M. Longrigg, Lt. D. Walker, Sgt. A. Seydler, Detective C. Cazares, Officer R. Fisher, Officer c. Calvillo and Communications Specialist E. Perez.

Chief J. Ayala said, “I’m proud of all my personnel in my department.”

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