AURORA, Colo. – Three times this year, Madeline Boatman and her family have foiled the theft of their two cars’ catalytic converters; but this week the thieves’ fourth attempt succeeded and they are left with only one working car just in time for the arrival of their baby boy.
Boatman reached out to Contact Denver7 to share his message with neighbors and Aurora police.
“I think [the criminals] feel pretty emboldened by the system and how it works,” Boatman said of his frustration with the increasing rate of catalytic converter thefts in Colorado. “Even if we had a security camera installed here, I don’t think they would change their behavior.”
According to Boatman, their Hyundai Sonata was first targeted on February 17. The thief was “able to break through, but not completely remove the catalytic converter,” she said.
In April, a second attempt was made on the Sonata, but the thief was chased away by a neighbor who noticed the commotion outside his window.
In May, attempts shifted to the family’s Jeep Liberty – their most trusted vehicle – and this week their fourth time as a target proved successful for the thief (or thieves). Boatman caught a man in the act, but not soon enough.
“I came out and said ‘excuse me, what are you doing to my car?'” Boatman recalled. “He got in his white Subaru and sped off really fast. It had just rained the night before, so he had an extended plastic trash bag to keep him fresh and clean. How nice of him.
It’s a particularly difficult time for Boatman and her husband to have just one working car. They have a two-year-old daughter and a baby boy due this month.
“We need to be able to get them both to their doctor’s appointments,” she said. “Newborn babies in particular have a lot of checkups they have to go to in the first few months of life.”
According to Aurora Police, 2,485 Coloradans had catalytic converters stolen last year, which is a 1,556% increase from 2019.
Now that Boatman and his family are among this year’s casualties, they are forced to sell their no longer working Jeep Liberty to pay for additional warranties to keep their Hyundai Sonata running.
Boatman feels stuck and vulnerable and said she wants police to be more proactive against these crimes.
She said she contacted Denver7, hoping her neighbors will be notified and take every possible precaution.
“We definitely know they’re out there,” Boatman said of the thieves. “We know perfectly well that we are targeted.”