Man crushed to death trying to steal catalytic converter, police say

Police investigate after a man was crushed to death by a car in Anaheim on March 17, 2021. (OnScene.TV)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KTLA) – A man suspected of trying to steal a vehicle’s catalytic converter in Anaheim died after the car fell on him Wednesday, police said.

Officers responded to a report of a deceased man in the 1600 block of North Placentia Avenue just before 6:30 a.m., according to Anaheim Police Department Sgt. Shane Carringer.

The man was apparently in the process of stealing the catalytic converter when the jack failed, crushing the would-be thief to death, Carringer said.

The car was the property of a local business, and it was an employee who discovered the deceased man under the vehicle, the sergeant added.

Sean Harp, who works at the complex where the incident occurred, was in his office at 6 a.m. when a “pretty frantic” person came in to alert him that he had found a dead man beneath the car, a Toyota Prius. They called 911.

Harp went out and saw the man’s “torso underneath the vehicle with his feet and … legs exposed,” he told a news photographer at the scene. “It was evident that he was crushed.”

Authorities aren’t sure how long the man’s body had been there. They have not identified him yet.

A small scissor jack appeared not to have been secured well enough, according to Harp. He also saw a tool pouch with a cordless Sawzall near the vehicle.

That’s “really indicative of people going in underneath vehicles and just cutting parts off that they need and selling it,” Harp said.

He noted that the complex has seen a rash of catalytic converter thefts in recent weeks.

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