Police: Motorist shot after interrupting suspects who tried to steal catalytic converter in St. Paul

A motorist interrupted suspects trying to steal the catalytic converter from his vehicle late at night over the weekend in St. Paul, gave chase and was shot, authorities said Monday.

The gunfire occurred around 2:40 a.m. Sunday at 1100 block of Marion Street, police said.

Officers spoke to a 56-year-old woman who told them her son had been shot, police said. A short time later, Juan M. Ramirez, 23, of St. Paul, was taken to Regions Hospital by his sister with a non-critical gunshot wound to the chest.

According to witnesses and evidence gathered at the scene, Ramirez apparently interrupted a catalytic converter theft, police said.

When the suspects jumped into a car and drove off, Ramirez gave chase to a vehicle and was shot, police added.

No arrests have been announced.

Thefts of catalytic converters, valued for the precious metals they contain and must be sawn off the undersides of vehicles, have increased nationwide over the past two years. In 2021, nearly 2,000 catalytic converters were stolen in St. Paul – more than five a day.

A thief can get hundreds of dollars for one of the devices, depending on its condition. For car owners, catalytic converter replacement can cost upwards of $1,500.

In January, the St. Paul City Council passed an amendment to the ordinance making it a felony to own a catalytic converter, which limits a vehicle’s exhaust emissions, that is not attached to a vehicle.

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