Police recover stolen catalytic converters

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SOUTH SALT LAKE -- Police believe they've arrested the man responsible for stealing 29 catalytic converters from a fleet of vehicles belonging to the Salt Lake School District over the weekend.

It was a frustrating crime. Without working vans, the thefts forced the district to shut down its summer lunch program to 10 schools, impacting thousands of students.

Police say a tip led to the break in the case. "Actually the information came from the viewers," said Sgt. Gary Keller with the South Salt Lake Police Department. "We got some really good tips."

He eventually opened the door and walked out and pretty much gave himself up.

–Sgt. Gary Keller

Acting on that tip Thursday, police conducted surveillance at a storage unit at 3477 S. West Temple in South Salt Lake. In conjunction with Motor Vehicle Enforcement, South Salt Lake police were able to make contact with one suspect and obtain a search warrant for the unit.

Police spotted a man driving a stolen truck from the surveillance video drive-in. The man disappeared into one of the storage units.

"He eventually opened the door and walked out and pretty much gave himself up," said Keller.

Tyson Anderson
Tyson Anderson

In conjunction with Motor Vehicle Enforcement, South Salt Lake police were able to arrest 28-year-old Tyson Brent Anderson and obtained a search warrant for the unit.

The storage unit was full of stolen property from various cases, including 20 of the 29 missing catalytic converters. Keller says they are working to determine with certainty which are from the school district vehicles.

"We will be able to tell by the angle of the cuts on the pipes. We are tracking that down right now," he said.

Police say it appeared Anderson had been living in the storage unit for some time.

"He made a makeshift loft apartment," Keller said. "I didn't go up there. I didn't want to go up there. But there's a mattress and he had some electronics up there."

Among the stolen property found in the storage unit was a variety of license plates and tools, including grounding wires, massive drill bits for large construction jobs, cutting torches, chain hoists and electrical tools.

Keller says Anderson has a long rap sheet involving stolen trailers, vehicles, property and gallons of fuel. Keller says Anderson left a trail of gasoline that leaked all the way from where it was stolen to the storage unit, where he dumped it down the storm drain.

"We're happy to bring this to a close," Keller said. "With this arrest, we'll probably solve a number of cases. We're expecting upwards of 12 different cases will be solved with this one arrest."

Anderson now faces trespassing and felony theft charges. There are a few catalytic converters unaccounted for, and police are still searching for a woman who they believe acted as Anderson's accomplice.


Story compiled with contributions from Jennifer Stagg and Cleon Wall.


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