A thief snuck into a car dealership, hoping to steal some catalytic converters from the unattended vehicles. In the morning, the owner returned to find the thief’s gruesome remains.
When Mike Abouharb showed up for work at his car dealership in Georgia, he witnessed a sight no one should ever have to see. Now, he’s warning others of a criminal trend and the horrific outcome that could follow.
Abouharb was struggling to keep his business open. Unfortunately, thieves have made his efforts even more difficult by stealing parts from the used vehicles on his lot day after day. Disturbingly, this came to a head when one man with nefarious intentions snuck onto the property at night.
Abouharb arrived at South Bound Auto Sales and noticed something wasn’t quite right, WTOC reports. His jack had been moved from its spot and placed on the ground in between several vehicles. As he approached the jack next to one of the cars, he was greeted by a grisly scene.
Under the car, Abouharb spotted the partial remains of a body trapped by the weight of the vehicle. The sight was enough to stop him in his tracks and force him to dial 911.
“I didn’t even get close to him. I called the police right away,” Abouharb said.
Abouharb says he knew instantly what had happened. The misplaced jack, a pair of spring-loaded pliers, and the bloody scene all pointed to a burglary gone wrong. From what he could tell, a person had boosted the car up with the jack in order to crawl underneath and steal the catalytic converter. Without the car properly secured, it slipped off of the jack, instantly crushing the suspect.
Chatham County detectives listed the deceased suspect’s identity as 32-year-old Matthew Eric Smith. His death has been recorded as “the result of an attempted catalytic converter theft,” according to WJCL. No one has been charged.
“At this time, the death appears to be accidental and no foul play is suspected in regards to the cause of death,” the sheriff’s office said at the time.
Mike Abouharb says the incident has made him sorrowful, afraid, and angry. Not only are the thieves risking their lives for a quick buck, but they’re also making it almost impossible to run a business.
“Name it … it happened,” he said. “In any given year, you got between $30 to $50,000 lost in catalytic converters, radios, even tires.”
The owner says that thieves are threatening his business and livelihood by repeatedly targeting his dealership.
“Everybody thinks the car business, you’re shoveling money. But you make a little money, then get a hit like this and it makes a big toll. It’s a hardship. It’s not worth it,” Abouharb said.
Matthew Eric Smith’s tragic end was treated as an accidental death. Sadly, he tried to make some quick cash but ended up paying the ultimate price instead.
Unfortunately, there has been an uptick in catalytic converter theft. As such, car owners have become more vigilant and are even taking extra measures to ensure that the thieves don’t get away with their crimes. Hopefully, this will deter potential criminals from risking their lives for illegal profit.