(CNN) — A man was crushed to death while allegedly attempting to steal a catalytic converter from a vehicle at a Savannah, Georgia, car lot, police said.
Officers were called on March 7 after the man, Matthew Eric Smith, 32, was found dead under a car, the Chatham County Police Department said in a release.
Catalytic converter theft has skyrocketed around the nation in recent years, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, surging more than 1,200% since 2019.
The converters, which reduce pollution and toxic gas from a vehicle’s emissions, are relatively easy to steal and contain valuable precious metals such as palladium, platinum, and rhodium … READ MORE.
CHATHAM COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT BELIEVES ACCIDENTAL DEATH WAS THE RESULT OF ATTEMPTED CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT
Chatham County Police Department via Facebook – Detectives believe an accidental death that occurred on Tuesday at a local business was the result of an attempted catalytic converter theft.
Chatham County Police Department officers were called to Prestige Auto Sales at 4513 Ogeechee Road around 9:15 a.m. on March 7, 2023, after a deceased adult male was found under a vehicle in the car lot.
Evidence at the scene indicates that the man was killed while he was illegally removing a catalytic converter from the vehicle, and the vehicle fell on top of him.
The deceased was identified as 32-year-old Matthew Eric Smith.
In 2022, 39 catalytic converters were stolen in 24 separate incidents in unincorporated Chatham County.