Arapahoe Sheriff arrests suspect in October catalytic converter thefts

Heather Willard
This catalytic converter was recovered by Arapahoe County Sheriff’s detectives at a scrapyard.Photo byColorado Court arrest affidavit

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Feb. 7, 2023

(Centennial, Colo.) Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a suspect on charges related to stolen catalytic converters recovered by detectives on Oct. 7, 2022.

Three catalytic converters were stolen from Toyota Tacoma trucks at Eco Shield Pest Solutions in Centennial. Arapahoe County deputies recovered the trio of stolen items from a scrap yard in Denver but did not pursue charges against the scrap yard.

The sheriff’s office shared body-worn camera footage of the recovery to show the prevalence of this particular kind of theft, depicting metal crates full of converters.

Jeremiah Jansen, 47, was arrested on felony warrant charges of identity theft, theft, and criminal mischief. He was arrested on Jan. 3 by Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies on an unrelated charge of motor vehicle theft and driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to an arrest affidavit, Jansen texted Eco Shield’s general manager on Oct. 10, 2022, to apologize for the trucks, citing a fentanyl addiction, but did not admit guilt. Jansen allegedly told the manager he would fix the vehicles and asked that charges not be pursued.

Jansen was identified by an ex-girlfriend who worked at Eco Shield on security footage, according to the arrest affidavit. She also identified his vehicle and told investigators he asked if she would cash a check for him on Oct. 7 after lunch. She said the $300 check was from a scrap yard, which was payment for two converters. Jansen allegedly sold a third for cash at a second scrapyard. Investigators recovered all three.

Additional investigation revealed Jansen’s cell phone pinged cell towers surrounding the scrapyard where he allegedly sold the first two converters.

Jansen is being held on a $10,000 bond in the Douglas County Detention Facility. He is scheduled to next appear in court on March 3 for the Douglas County charges, but no court date has been set for the Arapahoe County charges.

According to law enforcement, catalytic converters are stolen primarily for their valuable metals. Thieves steal them from unattended vehicles — or leave behind a damaged converter if their attempts are foiled. The parts are difficult to trace, thieves rarely are arrested and stolen catalytic converters are rarely recovered.

“The investigator assigned to this case did an excellent job not only tracking down the stolen catalytic converters, which is extremely tough to do, but also remaining diligent in identifying and tracking down the suspect,” said Arapahoe Sheriff Sgt. Matt Davis.

To hide the crime, sometimes thieves break the parts down before selling the metal to a scrapyard or go to yards outside the jurisdiction where the theft occurred. They also remove the serial numbers that connect cars to the parts, and unmarked catalytic converters are difficult to identify.

Since September, a new law requires auto parts recyclers to consult a national database to determine whether catalytic converters are stolen. The law also provides more law enforcement resources like the Commodity Metals Theft Task Force to investigate catalytic converter thefts.

The Colorado State Patrol started Lock Down Your Car, a program that provides car theft and protection information and free catalytic converter etching events.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO

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