Weather for the Following Location: Chattanooga on Map

Cars, Catalytic Converters Stolen from Chattanooga Police Lot

Stolen catalytic converters illustration.

Cars, Catalytic Converters Stolen from Chattanooga Police Lot

A Chattanooga man faces 31 charges of auto burglary after allegedly stealing vehicles and catalytic converters from a police department’s confiscation lot, according to court filings.

A Spate of Thefts at The Police Lot

James Turpin, a 39-year-old from the city, was apprehended on Saturday night and also faces charges that include trespassing, vandalism and tampering with evidence, court records show. Turpin is accused of stealing several vehicles from the lot, one of which was a Nissan truck involved in a fatal crash on Frazier Avenue in November. The incident took the lives of a mother and son, leaving the family’s father seriously injured.

The accused is scheduled to make a court appearance next week and is currently being held at the Hamilton County Jail. The bond amount set is $20,000, according to jail records.

Investigation & Evidence

Local police first became aware of a theft from their own confiscation lot on Wisdom Street, off Amnicola Highway, on April 29. Prior to this, 56 catalytic converters were reportedly stolen, tallying up to more than $15,000 in value. A golf cart from the lot was also found missing, but was later found abandoned on nearby train tracks.

The police lot, despite having security cameras, an alarm system, and a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, was unable to prevent the thefts. Police reports indicate a large hole was cut in the fence. Footage from the surveillance cameras showed an individual going through almost every vehicle in the lot, loading up stolen items into the Nissan truck, and then using bolt cutters to break out of the front gate.

A local recycling facility in Rossville reported that Turpin had sold some scrap metal to them on May 1. Video footage from the facility showed Turpin driving the stolen truck. Later that day, law enforcement located the Nissan stashed under a tarp in a nearby field, known to police for being used as a dumpsite for stolen cars, according to the report.

Past Encounters with The Law

Further investigation found that Turpin was not only driving with a suspended license, but had past run ins with law enforcement. He was previously caught rummaging through the dumpster outside the police department’s property division and removing items in March.

As the investigation continues, police have issued a warning to all facilities with similar items of interest to increase their security measures to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

Further updates on the case will be provided as the court proceedings unfold.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for our Newsletter