VALPARAISO | Two men have been charged with the numerous thefts of catalytic converters in Porter County.
Eric Goodson, 42, of Merrillville, and Edward Fouts, 28, of Griffith, have been charged with felony theft and are being held at the Lake County Jail.
Portage police reported about a dozen thefts of catalytic converters over several days in February, and Valparaiso police reported Feb. 28 about a dozen during the previous night.
The Porter County Sheriff's Department and Valparaiso University were also investigating thefts from their jurisdictions, according to court documents.
On March 3, police reviewed a surveillance video from the Walgreens warehouse on U.S. 30 in Union Township that showed a maroon minivan pull into the parking lot and park next to the car on Feb. 28.
Police said the van matched the description of a van used by two people who stole a car from Premier Auto Sales, also on U.S. 30 in Union Township. That car, a Pontiac Grand Am, was found in Lake County with its catalytic converter missing.
The car was taken by a man and woman who told employees at Premier they were interested in buying the car.
According to court documents, police learned Hammond police arrested two men for stealing catalytic converters. The two were driving a maroon mini van, police said. The documents state the man who stole the car from Premier Auto Sales matched the description of one of the men arrested by Hammond police.
Detectives from Valparaiso, Portage, Porter County and VU interviewed Goodson and Fouts at the Lake County Jail, and police said the pair admitted their involvement with numerous catalytic converter thefts in Porter County.
Catalytic converters, typically part of a car's exhaust system, have been targeted by thieves for the value of the metal.