Man trying to steal catalytic converter crushed to death by car at Ga. dealership, reports say

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. — The owner of a Savannah-area car dealership was stunned when he went to work Tuesday morning and found a body crushed underneath a car.

Chatham County police said Matthew Eric Smith, 32, was killed while trying to steal the car’s catalytic converter when the car collapsed on the man.

Mike Abouharb owns South Bound Auto Sales in Chatham County.

“I called the police right away,” he told WTOC-TV. “Is it worth it? To steal a catalytic converter to sell for $100? To lose your life? It’s not.”

Abouharb said he first realized something wasn’t right when he saw a jack on the ground, knowing he had left it somewhere else the night before.


“At this time, the death appears to be accidental, and no foul play is suspected in regard to the cause of death,” Chatham County police said.

Catalytic convert thefts have been on the rise throughout Georgia over the last couple of years. Thieves will cut them off vehicles and take them to scrap yards to get money for the precious metals inside.

Abouharb told WTOC that he had a message for thieves: “Get a job. Do something and stop stealing. We work very hard for what we get.”

Police said they are not releasing the man’s identity until they are able to notify his next of kin.

“A human life got destroyed for a stupid thing. To lose a life like that for $80. There’s not enough money to make it worth a life,” he said.