Richmond business says nearly 200 catalytic converters stolen by ‘seemingly friendly’ neighbor

A crime alert out of Richmond: thousands of dollars worth of catalytic converters stolen from a warehouse.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 6:02 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise, and one Richmond business says they had 200 of them stolen last week.

Brent Evans, the owner of Pro Cores Recycling on Gordon Ave, says police caught the thieves, but he couldn’t believe who was arrested.

“I never thought in a million years that I would have to pass that scrutiny to people who share a parking lot with me,” Evans said.

Pro Cores is a company that works with vendors to recycle metal, including catalytic converters. A few weeks ago, a new business moved in next door. Evans says he thought nothing of it.

“Our conversations have been friendly. I had no idea that they would conspire some sort of plan to break into my shop,” he said.

Evans says things took a turn on May 3 when he arrived at work to find his bay door cut open.

“I was shocked. I was scared,” he said.

Evans says he called the police after discovering that nearly 200 catalytic converters had been stolen.

“It led into a chase that led nowhere, and I felt defeated,” he said. “We would have suffered a $70,000 loss.”

In the days following, he says his seemingly kind neighbor continued to offer support, with no clue of the bomb that was about to drop.

“I had three conversations with him before his arrest,” Evans said.

That friendly neighbor, Corey Person, was charged with felony theft just days later, according to court documents.

Those documents also show he did not act alone. A second man, James Johnson, was also charged.

“He was arrested en route and trying to sell them to someone else for cash,” Evans said. “I felt betrayed.”

Evans credits Richmond and Hanover police for acting diligently, saying they caught them in the act.

“I’m hoping he learns from this,” Evans said.

Pro Cores ramped up security recently with more surveillance cameras, but Evans calls this a rare victory, saying most people who have their converters stolen never catch the culprits.