Hurricane Ian evacuees get help after catalytic converter stolen

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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A Fort Myers couple who lost their home to Hurricane Ian and was targeted by thieves after evacuating is receiving help from the community.

“We only brought enough for a night or two, thinking we’re gonna go back, really didn’t know what to expect,” said Jim Grey. “We just moved here from New Jersey.”

Grey and his wife evacuated to West Palm Beach from Fort Myers. While weathering the storm, they were targeted by thieves. Two catalytic converters were stolen from his truck overnight.

“I already found out my place was a total loss back home in Fort Myers and I was like what else could be going on,” said Grey.

In the past year, many catalytic converter thefts have occurred in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

“We’ve probably done, this year, over 100 stolen catalytic converters,” said Ron Katz, owner of Midas Auto Service in West Palm Beach. “When they mold it down, they are worth about $10,000 an ounce on the open market.”

Midas replaced the stolen parts from Grey's truck for free.

“You can’t help but feel bad for the guy,” said Katz. “But with what’s going on over there, did he really have to have this on top of it.”

Grey returned to Fort Myers days later and showed the damage left from Ian.

“The photos are photos but when you physically see it, it looks like a war zone,” said Grey. “I want to donate my time back to try and help people if I can.”

Scripps Only Content 2022