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Grismer Tire's John Marshall Calls Thefts 'Rampant'

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“The cost of replacing a catalytic converter is $1,300 to $2,000," says John Marshall, vice president of Dayton, Ohio-based Grismer Tire Co. "That is a significant cost for customers who are too often the main victims of these crimes."

John Marshall, vice president of Grismer Tire Co., doesn’t have political aspirations, but he did recently have a few words for Ohio lawmakers. He says the theft of catalytic converters is so rampant, it’s not a matter of “if” -  but “when” a vehicle owner will be the victim of the crime.

Marshall recently testified during an Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee session in support of Ohio House Bill 408, which would require scrap metal recyclers collect proof of ownership in transactions involving catalytic converters.

Marshall testified on behalf of the Ohio Tire & Automotive Association, which supports the bill. He was one of 12 parties to submit testimony in favor of the bill. (Others included the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Ohio Automobile Dealers Association.)

In that testimony Marshall referred to “the rampant theft of catalytic converters,” and noted that in the last 12 months, Grismer Tire, which is based in Dayton, Ohio, has recorded 44 incidents of catalytic converter theft - and the company’s customers have needed repairs after 87 other incidents.

“These thefts impact both our customers and our own fleet vehicles,” he testified. “The cost of replacing a catalytic converter is $1,300 to $2,000. That is a significant cost for customers who are too often the main victims of these crimes. When businesses are targeted, not only do companies have to incur the cost of fixing their own fleet vehicles, but they must also bear rising insurance premiums as well.”

In an interview, Marshall couldn’t help but warn even this MTD editor to “be very careful where you park your car.” He said Grismer Tire is doing its best to make sure its parking lots are well-lit to provide safety for customers’ vehicles.

Marshall said one of Grismer Tire’s wholesale suppliers had to suspend deliveries for five days after catalytic converters were stolen from the company’s fleet of vehicles.

On April 6, the day he testified before lawmakers in Columbus, Marshall drove to a Grismer Tire store in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and got a ride to the statehouse. While he was waiting, a woman walked in because the catalytic converter had been stolen from her vehicle overnight.

“What I told the congressmen is, this is something all of their constituents are going to face. It doesn’t matter what part of Ohio you’re from. It’s going to get worse and worse.”

At the hearing, Marshall was struck by the testimony of one of the other speakers - a Reynoldsburg, Ohio, police officer. Michael Binder has twice had the catalytic converter stolen from his personal vehicle. After the first theft, he followed a tip offered online to paint the replacement part with heat-resistant spray paint and engrave the vehicle’s identification number into the converter. (The thought is it would be easier to identify a converter that’s marked.) 

But Binder said scrap metal dealers he contacted were “unwilling to assist” when he provided them with the description of his stolen property.

With each theft, the officer said the replacement cost, including labor, was nearly $3,000.

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