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2 men charged in catalytic converter thefts at University of Utah

Two men accused of cutting out catalytic converters and breaking into at least one car at the University of Utah now face numerous criminal charges.

Two men accused of cutting out catalytic converters and breaking into at least one car at the University of Utah now face numerous criminal charges. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Two men accused of cutting out catalytic converters and breaking into cars parked at the University of Utah are facing numerous criminal charges.

David Leroy Rutishauser, 53, of North Salt Lake, and Martin Oliver Inger, 43, of Salt Lake City, were both charged Friday in 3rd District Court with multiple counts of theft and criminal mischief.

The investigation began March 1 when a student parked her car in a U. campus lot to go to class. When she returned, she discovered the catalytic converter had been cut out from under her car. While police were taking a report for that case, they said they learned another car in the same lot also had its catalytic converter cut out.

Officers then discovered that a car parked next to one of the victims had been broken into and $500 worth of ski equipment stolen, according to charging documents.

That same day, another catalytic converter theft was reported in another parking lot on campus.

When officers began reviewing surveillance video from the area, they found footage of a vehicle registered to Rutishauser pull into a parking lot and "drop off several individuals who began walking through the parking lot and signaling the driver," the charges state.

On March 23, U. police followed Rutishauser in an unmarked vehicle. They followed his vehicle to the area of 2900 South and 2300 West and said they watched as Rutishauser exited the driver's side and Inger exited the passenger side. Rutishauser then went underneath a car for several minutes as Inger acted as a lookout, according to the charges.

The two drove off and detectives pulled them over a short distance later. In the vehicle, police found several saws, two catalytic converters that had been cut out, drugs, drug paraphernalia and someone else's Social Security card, the charges allege.

Rutishauser told police that he and Inger had been stealing catalytic converters, including on campus, and he claimed it was because he "needed to make money to pay for an expensive prescription medication," according to the charges.

Based on information collected from that case, Rutishauser was tied to the theft of a trailer at a Murray business earlier in the year, police said. He was charged in April with theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony.

Inger was also charged in May in connection with a catalytic converter theft from a vehicle parked at Fashion Place Mall, according to court documents. Additionally, he has two other active felony cases in 3rd District Court, including one in which he is accused of fleeing from police and hitting another vehicle.

Last month, the Utah Attorney General's Office charged a man with orchestrating hundreds of catalytic converter thefts across the county. About the same time, Unified police announced a new partnership with Jiffy Lube aimed a curbing what has continued to be a huge problem in Utah by permanently marking a person's catalytic converter.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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