FARMINGTON — Prosecutors believe a Salt Lake couple has been very busy in Davis County lately cutting out and stealing catalytic converters from cars.
Zachary Daneil Hutchinson, 35, and Danelle Lee Sundahl, 36, were each charged Wednesday in 2nd District Court with six counts each of theft and six counts of criminal mischief.
On Oct. 23, Hutchinson and Sundahl were pulled over in Kaysville on a routine traffic stop, according to charging documents.
"The officer noted that they had 11 catalytic converters in their vehicle, along with a Sawzall with a red blade, two walkie-talkies, a car jack and headlamp," the charges state.
Investigators later learned of numerous catalytic converter thefts from Oct. 21-23, including: Three cars at King's Auto Service in Layton; two cars at Lance Paul Automotive in West Bountiful; two cars at Ray's Muffler in Woods Cross; two vans belonging to Phipps Construction in Kaysville; a van belonging to Closet Butler in Kaysville; and three more random vehicles in Kaysville.
Police say between September and late October, the couple brought more than 300 catalytic converters to metal recycling companies, the charges state.
Catalytic converters are used to help reduce the toxicity of a vehicle's emissions. A car will still run without it but will sound exceptionally loud. The converters contain several metals that can be sold for quick money at scrapyards. A typical converter can cost up to $1,000 to replace. Thieves can cut one off the bottom of a car in two minutes.
Salt Lake and Davis counties have seen several spurts in catalytic converter thefts over the past decade, much of it related to the fluctuating value of the precious metals found inside.
Five of the theft charges filed against the two are class A misdemeanors and one a class B misdemeanor; one criminal mischief charge is a second-degree felony, three are third-degree felonies, plus a class A and a class B misdemeanor.