A North Carolina man was crushed to death by a car on Wednesday evening while he was attempting to steal a catalytic converter, authorities said.
The incident occurred at “a residence in the 3900 block of West Unionville Indian Trail Road,” the Union County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) stated in a Facebook release.
Deputies, crime scene investigators, and detectives responded to the residence at 5:45 p.m. and discovered the man underneath a Toyota Prius.
“Detectives found evidence on scene that would indicate the male was in the process of cutting off and stealing the catalytic converter belonging to the Toyota Prius prior to his death,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Evidence at the scene indicated that while the subject was cutting the exhaust pipe, the car jack failed, and the vehicle landed on top of the man, the office stated.
The subject was not a resident of the home, but deputies informed the News & Observer the man was a “local resident.”
The identity of the subject will not be released as the investigation remains ongoing, according to UCSO.
Catalytic converters are targeted for theft because of their metals, including “platinum, rhodium, palladium,” the Washington Post reports, citing police. The car parts can be scrapped at junkyards and earn anywhere from $150-$200.
The UCSO hopes the story “will highlight the dangers associated with the theft of motor vehicle parts and will serve to discourage anyone actively involved in this type of criminal activity.”
“A catalytic converter and the small amount of scrap value it holds is not worth the risk of losing your life,” the sheriff’s office added.