A "rip and run" crime wave is targeting Birmingham, Hoover, Irondale, Moody, Leeds, Vestavia, Pelham, Trussville, Mongomery, Cullman, and the rest of Alabama. Thieves are targeting expensive mechanical pieces found on cars and trucks. Catalytic converters are a favorite target for this kind of theft. The thieves take the metal to scrap yards for quick sale. The converters are worth about $30 to $50 at scrap yards. Police say the crime takes less than ten minutes to perpetrate and thieves pose as car owners working on their own cars. In Hoover, Alabama a major criminal case began when thieves stole catalytic converters from multiple cars on a closed car lot. Repairs often cost the car owner approximately $1300. Trucks and SUVs seem to be the most targeted vehicles in Alabama because they sit high off the ground allowing for easy access, but any car is susceptible to the theft.
Many believe the best solution to stopping this kind of crime is to crack down of scrap yards who pay money for scrap metal. This is an overreaching approach that does nothing but hurt honest business. It is similar to blaming guns for crime. As a criminal defense attorney and lawyer I believe that individual rights are the most precious commodity we have in this country. When we give up those rights to combat minor inconveniences, such as cooper or metal theft, or even when we give up those rights to combat major areas of concern such as inner city violence, and we ban handgun ownership like the District of Columbia, then you are giving up rights the founders of this country fought and died to obtain, and are disgracing the memory of those who have fought and died since to protect those hard won freedoms.