Vancouver, WA – An alleged thief trying to steal a catalytic converter outside a repair shop last week died when the vehicle he was attempting to pilfer from fell on top of him, according to police.
The incident occurred outside the Four Seasons Auto Repair and Tire Center at approximately 2 a.m. on May 27, store owner Faazan Ahmed told The Columbian.
Security footage showed the suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Kent Raymond Williams, as he jacked up a silver Mercedes-Benz parked in the lot, Ahmed said.
Williams was beneath the vehicle when the jack slipped and the car slammed down on top of him, pinning him face-down and crushing him, according to KOIN.
A neighbor spotted the suspect’s body trapped beneath the vehicle sometime after 7 a.m. the next day, The Columbian reported.
Ahmed said the neighbor has been the victim of a recent rash of catalytic converter thefts, so he initially thought he had finally busted the thief in action when he saw him beneath the vehicle.
But when the neighbor approached Williams, he realized he wasn’t moving, Ahmed told The Columbian.
Police and medical crews responded lot and Williams was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded he died from traumatic asphyxia caused by compression of the torso, The Columbian reported.
Williams also had three or four catalytic converters stashed in his car when he died, Ahmed told the paper.
“It’s not worth a life,” the shop owner said.
In nearby Oregon, state lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would prohibit scrap metal businesses from buying most catalytic converters, The Oregonian reported.
The bill is intended to slow the surge in thefts by taking away an easy source of payment for the parts.