Local News

Thefts prompt UNC police to patrol parking lots

Posted July 3, 2008

— The University of North Carolina has posted campus police officers in the Chatham County park-and-ride and Friday Center parking lots after a rash of thefts from those locations.

In one week in June, 20 catalytic converters were stolen from cars parked in those lots, police said. They believe the thieves took the converters to sell for scrap. Catalytic converters contain small amounts of precious metals, including platinum, palladium and rhodium.

An on-duty campus officer will keep an eye on the parked cars temporarily. The university ultimately plans to have an off-duty officer pick up the parking patrol, so that others are not pulled away from their regular assignments

The university is also considering installing cameras in the lots to link to the existing security-camera system.

The thefts at UNC are the latest in a string of crimes police believe are executed to get money from scrap metal.

Dozens of metal vases disappeared from cemeteries in Wake and Johnston counties. Copper coils were ripped from air conditioning units, and hundreds of feet of copper cable that was stolen in Durham knocked out phone and Internet service to part of the city. Storm sewer grates were plucked from city streets.

Raleigh police said nine converters were stolen from vehicles at an automotive repair shop in June, and another five were taken from vehicles at a car dealership. Thirty-six converters have been reported stolen in Durham this year.


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  • Desiderata Jul 4, 2008

    All parking lots are "managed" buy UNC , the university, not the hospital.....do you think they really care about cars that park there.. silly people...they will now up the rates to parking garages to "pay" for this and nothing will be done to benefit the car owners, just pad the pockets of the university....and it continues...

  • redwarrior Jul 3, 2008

    Well, thanks, WRAL for educating would be thieves on the proper way to cut them from vehicles.

    Real bright.

  • Hatchcover Jul 3, 2008

    whatelseisnew: Four dollar gas will do this. Thanks Democrats.

    I bet you would blame the person that sold you the ticket to a bad movie too. That's rich!

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Jul 3, 2008

    "Each converter right now is bringing around $200."

    Autozone shows 4 types available for my Cherokee, each of which is under $129

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Jul 3, 2008

    You'd think it wouldn't take a FBI agent to detect someone hacksawing metal under a car, or wandering through the parking lot with an armload of tailpipes was not a biology major.

  • legaleagle0315 Jul 3, 2008


    No, at the price these guys are getting for the catalytic converters, they are not better off getting a minimum wage job. Each converter right now is bringing around $200. Now you factor in that someone that knows what they are doing, and has a cordless sawzall, can probably have one off the car within 5 minutes. So, you take two guys and a pick up truck, and they could very well produce an income comparable to Mrs. Easley's new salary very easy.

    There are scrap yards all over this country, and most of these guys are not taking the converters to the local yards, but probably out of state where there is a smaller chance of being caught. Even then, all they have to do is say they scrap out junk cars, there are no serial numbers on a converter that will lead them back to a particular car that it was taken from.

    Everyone have a great fourth, and be safe!

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Jul 3, 2008

    You mean they were NOT patrolling the parking lots?

    Why in the world NOT?

  • Deacons Jul 3, 2008

    Hummm, sounds like the Easly's are at it again!

  • jockeyshiftspringer Jul 3, 2008

    BudBrande said "I think you would have to be pretty hard up to stoop so low to steal the converter from under a parked car!"

    yea, how about them sewer grates too. Now those bicyclist have another hazard to worry about.

  • Deacons Jul 3, 2008

    It is the Democrats that refuse to drill for oil, do not be misled by their "the oil companies have 68 million acres they are not using" mantra, those acres have little oil as opposed to where they want to drill. ALSO, when the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi took over Congress they said they had a plan to lower gas prices, no one has yet to see this plan. The Republicans sent an open letter to them a month or so ago telling them they were interested in lowering gas prices and wanted to see their plan since it would help all Americans. Guess what? They do NOT have a plan except for the hot air out of their mouths.