Reward offered for tips to catalytic converter criminals

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A few car lots in Paragould have offered up a cash reward for whoever is targeting their businesses. In total, four car dealerships lost roughly $27,000 in a five day span after thieves cut catalytic converters off of vehicles on their lots.
"Somebody knew what they were doing and probably actually worked in a salvage yard before," Manager of Larry's Auto Sales, Carry Davis told Region 8 News.
Davis explained how he got to work and noticed something was wrong with some of his vehicles.
"I just looked out from the office and saw exhausts laying under here so we just kindly got to looking, noticed they'd cut 26 catalytic converters off of mainly GM's'," he said.
Davis said the make and model of the cars and vans that were hit make him think the thieves were familiar with the market for catalytic converters.
"It's a good market. Cheap, easy. They steal 'em and sell 'em off somewhere. They bring about $80 a piece," he said. 
However, it costs the car lot a lot more.
"To replace them back, you're getting anywhere between $200-$400 dollars so say average of 300 dollars a car," Davis said. 
Multiply that by the 26 cars that were hit and Larry's Auto is out almost $8,000.
"Cut your losses and hope for the best," Davis said.
They aren't the only ones cutting their losses.
"A few days later, we had 40 cut off of vehicles on the lot at Tabor's Auto Sales," Captain of the Criminal Investigation Division at the Greene County Sheriff's Office, Patrick Lenderman said.
Lenderman told Region 8 News that CTS Auto Sales and Hopper's Auto Sales were also hit, each with about 15 catalytic converters cut from their lots.
"They were using what appears to be a sawzall, reciprocating saw," Lenderman explained.
Lenderman said an investigation is underway.
"We've interviewed a few people and are still looking into video surveillance from surrounding businesses."
Now, the car lots are banding together and hoping a $750 cash reward will bring the sheriff's department closer to finding whoever did this.
"Y'know, it hurts but you can't be ugly," Davis said. "We'll just have to go on. Buckle down, go on and do something different."
If you have any information regarding the thefts, call the Greene County Sheriff Department's Criminal Investigation Division.
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