RICHMOND, Va. -- A man in Henrico was shot outside of his home while he was confronting thieves. Crime Insider sources said the gunman was trying to feel very expensive car parts, a crime that has recently been on the rise.
Around 3 a.m. on Saturday, Henrico Police responded to a shooting at Windy Cove Court.
According to Crime Insider sources, a man was critically injured when he tried to stop the theft of catalytic converters that thieves were taking from cars parked at the complex.
"This is just no a Virginia problem or a Central Virginia problem. It's happening in an awful lot of places all across the country," Mordan Dean with Triple-A Mid Atlantic said.
According to recent data, Richmond saw a 64% increase in property crimes alone during the first quarter of 2022. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter theft insurance claims have increased by 1,215% over the last year.
The emission control devices have become popular targets to cut from the car's exhaust system because they can contain precious metals.
"And each one of these value at a high market rate. I think platinum is like $1,000 an ounce, rhodium is at $14,000 per ounce," Dean said.
Auto repair specialist Emory Heiston said the cost to replace a catalytic converter is expensive and isn't always covered by insurance,
"The average repair ticket for a catalytic converter, I mean, some cars have one catalytic converter and some have four catalytic converters. You're looking at an average repair cost of anywhere between $600 to possibly $5,000," Heiston said.
This year, Virginia lawmakers passed legislation aimed at stopping thieves.
"As of July of this year with the law change, it moves the theft of a catalytic converter from a misdemeanor to a felony and it also puts pressure on metal buyers, whenever someone comes in to sell a catalytic convertor, they have to actually document who the person is," Dean said.
However, experts said that thieves will always find ways around the law, therefore, it's important that car owners are vigilant and take precautions to protect their property.
Police and Triple-A said it's best to park your car in a garage if you can. If not, they recommend parking in a well-lit area close to the curb which makes access underneath the car harder.