Alleged catalytic converter thief admits to stealing devices, targeting police cars


JENNINGS, La. (KLFY) – A man in Jeff Davis Parish faces charges in connection to a string of catalytic converter thefts. Jennings Police say they caught him red handed with the tools used in the alleged crimes he confessed to.

Damien Robinson, 24, of Lake Arthur is charged with four counts each of simple criminal damage to property and theft.

“He had about $3,200 on him. He admitted to the officer a large portion of that money came from the sale of catalytic converters,” said Jennings Police Chief Danny Semmes.

Jennings Police say Robinson was stopped after officers spotted his car at a gas station on the north side of town on June 19th, as a vehicle described in recent catalytic converter thefts. When officers looked in the backseat, they found an assortment of tools: electric power saws, a cutting torch, and a hydraulic jack. Semmes says Robinson admitted to stealing catalytic converters in the area, using the tools to do the dirty work.

“Some people realize, I’m caught. I have to give it up and get this behind me. It’s human nature to want to purge yourself of secrets like that,” said Semmes.

A catalytic converter is required to control exhaust emissions in your car. They contain precious metals, like palladium, rhodium, and platinum. The metals are worth thousands of dollars per ounce. The bad guys know this. They cut them off your car, then flip them to a scrap metal dealer to make a quick buck.

“It’s gotten to be a serious problem where officers are responding to multiple calls a week of catalytic converters being stolen,” said Semmes.

Semmes says Robinson took officers to locations where he had stolen catalytic converters, as well as locations where he planned future thefts. Semmes says he told officers he was planning to steal catalytic converters from police cars at the Jennings Police Department, but he was scared off when he saw the lot was under video surveillance.

Robinson was booked into the Jeff Davis Parish Jail, but is currently out on bond.

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