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Off-Duty Police Officer Murdered in Houston During Catalytic Converter Theft

April 11th, 2023

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Across the nation, catalytic converter thefts have remained on a steady incline. Since 2020, thousands of car owners have fallen victim to having their car's catalytic converter clipped from their undercarriage. Not only has this crime plagued the country post-covid, but thieves as well as car owners have also been killed in the process.

Catalytic Converter Thieves Killed in Attempted Robbery

In the beginning months of 2023, there were several cases of thieves being accidentally run over and killed while attempting to steal catalytic converters. Two other thieves were crushed to death due to faulty jacks that collapsed under the weight of the car they were propping up. Catalytic thefts happen in public and private spaces during day or night time hours, but single perpetrators do not all attempts. More often, it's teams of criminals who work together to steal the converter from beneath cars.

Houston Police Officer Shot and Killed in Catalytic Converter Theft Confrontation

Up to 35 states have put legislation into place in hopes of curbing catalytic converter crimes. The Almendarez family has been at the forefront of helping pass a bill in Texas that would make cat converter theft a felony while giving prosecutors the ability to charge thieves with organized crime on top of grand theft. This comes after the death of an off-duty police officer and family member Darren Almendarez in a Houston grocery store parking lot.

After confronting three men who were in the process of stealing Almendarez's car's catalytic converter, one of the thieves shot and killed Darren. State Senator Carol Alvarado has called for the Deputy Darren Almendarez Act or Senate Bill 224 in hopes to make penalties for catalytic theft more stringent while giving law enforcement and prosecutors more tools to prevent these scenarios.

If you happen to walk up on a catalytic converter theft in progress, restrain from confronting the thief. The best thing you could do is keep your distance and immediately notify authorities while trying to get a complete description of the perpetrator. If you happen to be inside the car while a catalytic converter theft occurs, do not drive off unless your life is in immediate danger.

Safeguard your Catalytic Converter with Protective Undercarriage Shield

If you've noticed the rise of catalytic converter theft in your neighborhood or town, adding the right protection can save you thousands of dollars for a full-on replacement atop the labor costs for adding a new catalytic converter. From SUV catalytic converter guards for models like the Honda Element to compact cars like the Toyota Prius, installing a cat shield to the bottom of your car is a sure way to protect it from being stolen.