Man suspected of stealing auto parts from UT garage tries to cover his tracks by spraying car, police say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – UTHSC campus police say a man painted his entire car with black spray paint and exit tags, but that didn’t stop them from linking the vehicle to a recent parts theft automobiles at school.

UTHSC police said Steven Reynolds, 29, was arrested after one of their officers spotted his car in the parking lot of Motel 6 on Pauline Street.

Motel 6 on Pauline

The officer said he saw Reynolds attach an exit tag to a 1996 Toyota Avalon and noticed the car had marks and scratches similar to an Avalon used in a catalytic converter theft in the garage from the Hamilton Eye Institute last Tuesday.

Police said Reynolds told them he had just purchased the Avalon and had purchased the exit tags from someone staying at the motel.

Hamilton Eye Institute parking garage on Madison Avenue

UTHSC police said the Avalon appeared to have been freshly painted with black spray paint and found battery-powered cutting tools in the back of the car.

Campus police said they found other burglary tools in his motel room.

Officers said surveillance video provided by Motel 6 also showed Reynolds entering the motel parking lot minutes after the theft into the UT parking lot. Madison’s garage is less than a mile away.

After Reynolds’ arrest, UTHSC police said he admitted to stealing catalytic converters in the past, but said he did not steal the one from the UT garage.

Steven reynolds

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise across the country. Thieves are looking for the precious metal inside, which is worth up to $ 1,200 an ounce.

The cost to the victim to replace the catalytic converter is approximately $ 1,500.

Reynolds has been charged with theft of property and altering, tampering or tampering with vehicle plates.

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