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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence man is recovering from injuries after he stopped several suspects from trying to steal the catalytic converter from his car, and all while he was inside it.
Francisco Medrano said he was having trouble sleeping, so he drove down the street to get some fast food early Saturday morning. He says he came back and was eating in his driveway when he heard a car pull up behind him outside of his Standish Ave. home.
“I hear a grinding noise and I look out and I look in the passenger mirror, and I just see two legs under my car, and I just jumped out,” Medrano told 12 News.
The legs belonged to a suspect who he later learned was trying to steal the catalytic converter from under his Jeep Grand Cherokee. He says it’s unfortunately not the first time he’s been a victim of catalytic converter theft.
“I’ve always wondered what would happen if I caught somebody in the act, and I guess it happened,” he said.
Medrano has a camera on the side of the home, and it captured the incident. He got out of the car and encountered several suspects who became violent.
“Somebody stabbed me in the face with a Sawzall. I ended up pulling the saw out from the guy. Somebody in the back was hitting me with a pipe,” Medrano said, pointing out staples on the back of his head.
The 36-year-old was still wearing his hospital bracelet from Saturday, with visible scars on his arms and face from the incident.
Police say when they took Medrano’s report early Saturday morning, they observed these injuries and transported Medrano to Rhode Island Hospital for further treatment.
Medrano says he wasn’t armed, but his two dogs were with him and tried to go after the suspects, who fled the area. He says he noticed four people altogether.
Police say Medrano advised there were three Hispanic men and described two of them to be wearing a full-face mask and another not to be wearing a mask.
Medrano says he was surprised something like this happened while he was in his car, but says he believes the suspects were equally as surprised.
The car part can go for hundreds of dollars in scrap yards, and the cost to replace them can be even higher for car owners.
“I just hope that all this stops. People are being real petty,” Medrano said. “Either I or they could have lost their life over something so petty.”
Providence police took Medrano’s report and are continuing to investigate the incident.
In March, Rep. Joe Solomon introduced legislation to tighten restrictions on scrap metal businesses that buy converters.
If passed, Solomon’s bill would add to the regulations placed on businesses last year, in an effort to further crack down on the market to buy stolen converters.
Target 12 reported last fall more than 1,400 converter thefts were reported in the first three-quarters of 2022 alone, according to police departments across Rhode Island.
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