Man killed in NC when jack fails in catalytic converter theft attempt, authorities say

A man in North Carolina died while attempting to steal a disabled car's catalytic converter,...
A man in North Carolina died while attempting to steal a disabled car's catalytic converter, local authorities say.(WBAY)
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 3:19 PM CST
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ZEBULON, N.C. (Gray News) – Authorities in North Carolina are investigating after they say a man was killed while trying to steal parts from a disabled car.

On Monday morning, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a person who had died in Zebulon, North Carolina. When deputies arrived, they said they found the body of a man under a disabled Toyota Camry. The body was reported by a tow truck driver who had been sent to tow the vehicle.

The body was identified by family members as 50-year-old Joshua Larry Diehl. Authorities believe that Diehl was attempting to steal the car’s catalytic converter when the jack he was using to hold the car up malfunctioned, pinning him under the vehicle. Police do not know how long Diehl was under the car before he was discovered.

The car was left at its location Sunday night after its owner had a flat tire while on the way home from work, according to authorities. Having no way to change the tire, the driver called a friend to pick her up around 10 p.m. local time and made plans to have the car towed the next morning.

Police believe Diehl found the car sometime after the owner was picked up, and made the attempted theft.

“Unfortunately, these types of thefts are on the rise,” Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said. “This is a national problem, partly due to the increased value of the precious metals in the part.”

Catalytic converter thefts have increased since March of 2020, the start of the global pandemic, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. People who are victims of the theft often face repair bills of up to $3,000.

Investigators are looking to see if Diehl is connected to similar reports of catalytic converter thefts in the area.

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