CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Authorities say a Jackson County man bought catalytic converters that had been cut out of vehicles at a Wood County car dealership.
Ricky Allen Hoffman, 49, of Ravenswood was arrested Monday and charged with receiving stolen property, a felony, according to a statement by Parkersburg police.
Parkersburg detectives have been investigating catalytic converter thefts for months.
"The thefts, which are reaching epidemic proportions across the country, are a result of the significant rise in the price of precious metals," Sgt. Greg Collins said in the release. "Catalytic converters contain platinum, palladium and rhodium."
Hoffman met with two men at a shopping plaza in south Parkersburg in September. He allegedly bought two new converters from them, the statement said.
He had reason to believe at the time that the parts were stolen, police said. The converters were valued at $4,500 and were cut from new vehicles at Superior Toyota and Astorg Motors.
Hoffman was arraigned in Wood Magistrate Court Monday and released on a $3,000 bond.
The men who sold him the converters have not been found.
Collins said thefts have become such an issue that Parkersburg police have set up surveillance at locations where thefts are likely.
The converters can be removed with a battery-powered saw in one to three minutes.
Anyone with information can contact the detective bureau at 304-424-8444. Anonymous tips can be left at www.parkersburgpolice.com.