Woman awakens on Christmas Eve to find second catalytic converter stolen in as many months

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Police say catalytic converter thieves are targeting Honda and Toyota vehicles right now.

Melonie Saunders’ Toyota Prius just got hit for the second time.

“I was like, ‘Wow, I haven’t even had the car for two days fixed.’ My heart sunk,” she said. “I cried. It’s is an instantaneous noise. Now that it’s the second time; you know it immediately.”

Saunders can start her car but cannot drive it safely or without doing more damage to the vehicle.

“Now I have to come up with more money to fix it again,” she said.

ASE Certified Master Technician Jim Henry said criminals can cut one from your car in little time at all.

“If you’ve got a Sawzall, it’ll take less than 30 seconds,” he said. “With a hacksaw, maybe a minute or two and then you’re gone.”

Henry said he isn’t giving away any secrets.

“Believe me, they know that and they probably know tricks we don’t even know yet,” he said.

The black-market demand is for the valuable metals in the catalytic converter. Henry said the one part could bring a thief 50 cents on the dollar. 

“An Acura, Prius, something like, that they could probably get $600-$700; somewhere in that range,” he said.

While Saunders’ Prius was hit twice in two months, she sees no sign of other victims who park near her. Criminals targeted her car. 

“I guess they figured out it was fixed pretty quickly and came back and got it again,” she said.

St. Louis Police detectives from the north and south patrol divisions are collaborating in an investigation to combat these thefts. St. Louis County Police have also reported a spike in thefts they’re handling.

Meanwhile, Saunders has set up a GoFundMe to help cover her insurance deductible.

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.

Popular

Latest News

More News