Three Bulgarian men suspected in chain of catalytic converter thefts
Three Bulgarian men were arrested on Friday morning in Helmond on suspicion of stealing catalytic converters from cars across the country, according to the police. Together, they formed an itinerant group that often changed addresses and worked in different compositions to avoid capture by the police.
The group of men, aged 22, 25 and 31, are suspected of quickly stealing the car parts in residential areas and hiding them in nearby bushes to later collect and sell. Police estimate catalytic converters, the part of a car that filters emissions, bring 200 to 300 euros apiece when sold to metalworking companies. The men mostly stole parts from Toyota Prius cars.
An investigation into the men began in January and several suspects were caught red-handed on Jan. 27 in Arnhem, according to the police. One of the previously-identified suspects was again caught, this time with another man, during an April 4 theft in Eindhoven.
After the Public Prosecution Service (OM) ordered their arrest, the men were arrested around 4 a.m. on April 8 in Helmond. Police found tools used in catalytic converter theft in the men's vehicle.
The investigation is ongoing and police have not ruled out more arrests, they said. According to the police, this type of criminal activity is difficult to catch because it takes place at night in quiet residential areas and one of the thieves is always on the lookout for authorities.