HOUSTON - We’re learning more about two suspects who allegedly stole nine catalytic converters from Cyfair ISD high school parking lot around April 7.
The first suspect is 18-year-old Greg Hunter, who was out on bond and already facing charges for assault of a family member and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The second suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Bobby Turner, also out on bond facing several charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
A judge revoked bond for both suspects and the District Attorney's Office tells FOX 26 that both men are known gang members; now they’re working toward holding them without bond for up to 60 days.
"Since 2019, we’ve seen a 1,200% increase in catalytic converter thefts, so an astronomical increase driven by the cost of precious metals," said David Glawe with the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
As the catalytic converter theft crisis continues to plague the Houston area, the suspects associated with these crimes are proving to be violent and willing to risk it all.
Less than two weeks ago, three suspected catalytic convertor thieves allegedly shot and killed an off-duty Harris County deputy in a grocery store parking lot after he caught them in the act.
"It shows that property crimes can be involved with violent crimes, criminal organizations, gangs," said Glawe.
Just last weekend, three suspects took deputies on a high speed chase that ended with two of the suspects losing their lives after their vehicle lost control and crashed into a tree.
"I think the whole things is terrible, there’s a lot of them getting taken in my neighborhood," said Houston resident Rich Beck.
Another resident also weighed in saying, "I think it’s disgusting that we have to pay all this money in taxes and are still not safe on our streets or be safe with our vehicles."
Houstonians we spoke with say the recent news of these thefts turning violent and deadly has them re-thinking how they would handle such a situation.
"I’d call 911, I wouldn’t take the chance of approaching them," Beck said.
Officials are urging people to be proactive and take steps to secure their catalytic converters with anti-theft devices Protect Your Catalytic Converter with One of These Devices (autoweek.com) or by painting them with high temperature fluorescent paint to deter criminals.