Watch: Warehouse employee opens fire on would-be burglar

Owner of company says thief was trying to steal catalytic converter

It was a dangerous deed that could have ended in a tragedy when a warehouse employee catches a burglar and starts shooting at him.

NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – In video obtained by Local 10 News, a man can be seen dressed all in black. Exactly four minutes later, the man runs away. Seconds later, a second person comes into the frame, lifts his arm and appears to be shooting.

The video matches what Local 10 News was told earlier Friday at the scene. The owner of a demolition and trash hauling company said one of her employees saw someone trying to steal a catalytic converter from a white truck.

The man told his boss he felt threatened as the guy dressed in black was running at him with a saw. So, he shot at him.

It happened early Friday around 5 a.m., police said, at a warehouse district along Northeast 15th Court in unincorporated Miami-Dade.

So why are catalytic converters so desirable to thieves? The car part controls vehicle emissions and is made up of precious metals like platinum and rhodium, which garners quite the cash at scrapyards.

Surveillance video shows a man who shot a thief who was stealing a pricey car part in Miami-Dade County.

How can you avoid getting yours stolen?

According to Kelley Blue Book, law enforcement experts recommend the following:

  • Get your catalytic converter etched. Many police departments and some muffler shops will happily etch your license plate number onto your car’s catalytic converter for free. Thieves have a much harder time selling a converter if it can be tied to a particular theft, making it almost worthless to them.
  • Park indoors if possible: What thief would break into a garage when there are easier targets outside?
  • Look for cameras: Choose parking garages and parking lots covered by cameras when you need to park the vehicle.
  • Park in a well-lighted area: Thieves are less likely to steal where they’re more likely to be seen.
  • Consider installing a dash camera. Some dash cams use motion sensors and will record anyone close enough to your car to get to the catalytic converter. The presence of a camera can be enough to scare thieves off to find easier prey.
  • Install an anti-theft device. Some car shops offer shields designed to make a catalytic converter harder to remove. We’re aware of no studies on how well these devices work, but it seems logical that thieves might move on to cars without them.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.