Two men charged in connection with catalytic converter thefts

Posted at: 03/18/2013 3:49 PM
Updated at: 03/18/2013 11:30 PM
By: Lynette Adams

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office has arrested two men and accused them of stealing catalytic converters from a local business. Last week, News10NBC told you about a rash of thefts at Rochester companies including eleven stolen from the Medical Motor Service just two weekends ago. It caused $15,000 in damage.

39-year-old Preston Lawrence and 36-year-old Delmus Holton are facing charges including auto stripping and possession of burglary tools, both felonies.

The executive director of Medical Motor Service is out about $15 thousand dollars. The sheriff's office tells us the suspects have admitted to stealing a number of catalytic converters but investigators
are still sorting out where the robberies took place and when.

A sheriff's lieutenant says Preston Lawrence and Delmus Holton were arrested Sunday morning around 5:30. Investigators followed them to 1170 Lexington Avenue, local office of the non-profit organization Planet Aid, which collects and recycles used clothing and shoes to help the environment and also to help poor communities around the world.

According to court documents, investigators saw the two use a saw and cut the catalytic converters out of two vans. One belongs to Planet Aid, the other is registered to Ryder Rental. News10NBC tried to reach Planet Aid, but were unsuccessful. The suspects, both city residents, right now are facing four charges, two of them felonies.

Lt. Douglas Comanzo says this is a crime that can have a negative impact on individuals and companies.
Lt. Douglas Comanzo, Monroe County Sheriff's Office, said, “Obviously, the damage to their vehicles can be quite significant and can be disruptive to their lives and mainly for some of the commercial, their livelihood, could put their vehicles out of service for quite sometime and the cost of repair is pretty significant.”

Thieves tend to target cars high enough off the ground to climb under. The sheriff's office says if you have a garage, use it. When you're out, park in an area that is well lit or a protected parking lot.

There are several after market products you can buy, like the “CatClamp” which starts around $160. It acts as a cage around the catalytic converter.

Lawrence remains at the Monroe County Jail on $7,500 cash bail while Holton is out of custody. He posted his bail of $1,500 cash.