AURORA, Colo. — Three times this year, Madeline Boatman and her family have thwarted the theft of the catalytic converters from their two cars; but this week, the fourth attempt by thieves was successful and they’re down to one working car just in time for the arrival of their baby boy.
Boatman reached out to Contact Denver7 to share her message with neighbors and Aurora Police.
“I think [the criminals] are feeling quite emboldened by the system and how it works,” Boatman said of her frustration with the growing rates of catalytic converter theft in Colorado. “Even if we had a security camera put up here, I don’t think that they would change their behavior.”
According to Boatman, their Hyundai Sonata was first targeted on February 17. The thief was “able to cut through, but not completely remove the catalytic converter,” she said.
In April, a second attempt was made on the Sonata, but the thief was chased off by a neighbor who happened to notice the commotion outside his window.
In May, attempts shifted to the family’s Jeep Liberty—their more reliable vehicle—and this week their fourth time as a target proved to be successful for the thief (or thieves). Boatman caught a man in the act, but not soon enough.
“I came out the door, and said ‘excuse me, what are you doing to my car?’” Boatman recalled. “He got into his white Subaru and sped off really fast. It had just rained the night before, so he had a plastic trash bag lying down to keep him fresh and clean. How nice for him.”
It’s an especially bad time for Boatman and her husband to be down to one working car. They have a two-year-old daughter and a baby boy due this month.
“We need to be able to get both of them to their doctor’s appointments,” she said. “Newborns especially have a lot of checkups that they need to go to in the first few months of life.”
According to Aurora Police, 2,485 Coloradans had a catalytic converter stolen last year, marking an increase of 1,556% from 2019.
Now that Boatman and her family are among this year’s victims, they’re forced to sell their now non-working Jeep Liberty to pay for extra safeguards to keep their Hyundai Sonata running.
Boatman feels stuck, and vulnerable, and said she wants to see police be more proactive against these crimes.
She said she reached out to Denver7, in the hopes that her neighbors will be warned and take every precaution they can.
“We definitely know that they’re out there,” Boatman said of the thieves. “We definitely know that we’re being targeted.”
The Denver7 Investigates team recently shared an in-depth look at the neighborhoods in Denver most targeted by catalytic converter thieves. Search our database for the most targeted vehicles. See the interactive charts below or click the link for an fullscreen view.