CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFTS

Published by The Bee News

February 15, 2022

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BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. – February 15, 2022 – Bullhead City Police arrested Justin Eldon Hemphill, 41 of Bullhead City, as being identified as the catalytic converter thief. On February 15, 2022 at about 1:40 a.m., police were called to the Rock at River Chapel Assembly of God, in the 800 block of Marina Boulevard, for a suspicious activity call. It was reported that a man was seen on surveillance video underneath a vehicle in the parking lot.

The responding officer contacted a man in the area – Justin Hemphill – who had cutting tools, work gloves and safety glasses in his sweatshirt pocket. Officers learned that the Chapel van had its catalytic converter cut underneath it. Surveillance showed the man in the video wearing the same clothing as Hemphill. Hemphill’s vehicle was located nearby, as well as a reciprocating saw.

Hemphill was arrested for aggravated criminal damage and attempted theft. Officers also noted when Hemphill was taken into custody that he had small metal shavings in his hair and on his sweatshirt. Detectives have been tracking and investigating a string of catalytic converter thefts in the area for several months. The vehicle Hemphill was driving matches the same description as the suspect’s vehicle in several other catalytic converter theft cases.

Detectives served a search warrant into Hemphill’s home. Two cut catalytic converters & cutting tools were recovered. During interviews, detectives learned that Hemphill was selling stolen catalytic converters out of state. (In Arizona, used catalytic converters are prohibited from being sold to scrap metal dealers). Hemphill was booked into the Mohave County Jail in Kingman. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.

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