Car parts stolen across Marquette


When Samuel Simmons, an NMU sophomore sociology major, started up his Jeep Cherokee the Monday after returning from spring break, he was shocked to hear an extremely loud noise beneath his hood. After bringing his car to a repair shop the next day he was surprised to hear that his catalytic converter had been sawed out.

Simmons soon learned he wasn’t alone as reports filed with Public Safety on March 10 indicated six other cars at NMU had also been stripped of their catalytic converters, said Public Safety Investigator Victor LaDuke.

Two suspects have been identified by Public Safety, but they are not yet in custody, LaDuke said. There had been other attempted thefts off-campus by the same individuals, which were reported to the Michigan State Police, Chocolay Police and Marquette Police departments, he added.

The catalytic converters have been retrieved from a local junkyard, Simmons said.

The parts are currently being reviewed at the Marquette State Police Forensic Lab, LaDuke said.

Car parts being stolen on campus isn’t all that uncommon, and it’s more likely to happen toward the end of the semester or the end of the year because that is when most students are leaving for breaks. If someone’s battery dies and they can’t afford a new one they may get desperate and decide to just steal one in order to get home, LaDuke added.

“We’ve had car parts stolen in the past, that happens every year. But having someone hit seven or eight vehicles is somewhat unusual,” LaDuke said.

A catalytic converter is part of a car’s exhaust system and helps clean up pollutants from the car’s engine.

Simmons was told that the cost to replace his catalytic converter would be $279.20, including labor.

However, the amount of money someone could receive for selling a catalytic converter ranges from $13 to $190 depending on the condition and what car it came from, according to Superior Auto Parts in Negaunee.

Simmons said Public Safety was very helpful in this situation, but that Northern could possibly prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future by installing cameras in the parking lots or patrolling them more.

“I imagine they did it really late at night crawling around under cars,” he said. “I’m not upset with the university; I just wish there were security cameras so they could’ve seen something.”