‘I’m disabled. I can’t afford to fix my car’: Dane County man seeks justice after car part stolen

DA: Not enough evidence to prosecute

A Dane County man is facing a hefty bill after he reported a part stolen from his car, and with the man arrested in connection with the crime not facing charges, he’s worried this could happen to anyone.

Shane Blumer reported to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 20 that his catalytic converter was missing. He had his car parked at a friend’s lot, and noticed it was gone when his car was louder than usual. His friend’s catalytic converter was gone as well.

Blumer and his friend are confident they know who did it, and said officials had enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant for him. The sheriff’s office confirms that person was arrested on Sept. 28.

“They picked him up Saturday. By Monday the DA (district attorney) declined to charge him,” Blumer said. “They released him with no charges because there are no serial numbers on the catalytic converters.”

Blumer said the DA’s office told him that without a serial number, which catalytic converters don’t have, they wouldn’t have enough evidence to prosecute.

On Thursday afternoon, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said that at this point, his office doesn’t have the ability to match up some potentially stolen parts with affected vehicles.

“We don’t believe we have enough evidence,” Ozanne said.

Catalytic converters can be sold for the small amounts of valuable metals they contain.

Imagine starting you car, hearing it louder than ever, and finding out someone stole your catalytic converter. Oh, and now you’re facing a $2,245 bill to fix it. Thieves take them to sell for trace metal, and since the parts don’t have serial numbers, they can be hard to track pic.twitter.com/9pGvKK2O4M

— Madalyn O’Neill (@news3madalyn) October 10, 2019

“They’re looking at this as a petty crime. It’s not a petty crime to me,” he said. “(I’m) angry. I’m disabled. I can’t afford to fix my car.”

For Blumer, it’s a crime that’s left him feeling stuck. With receipts showing a $2,245 fix for his missing catalytic converter, Blumer’s not sure how to move forward.

“I would like restitution. As being disabled, on a fixed income, I can’t afford $2,200 to fix my car. That’s my form of transportation. I’m a single dad who has my kids 50 percent of the time. I have to transport my kids one way to school 26 miles,” he said. “I don’t know what to do. I’m between a rock and a hard spot.”

Blumer feels his case is falling between the cracks and thinks the same thing will happen to others, too.

“I do have a message for the DA,” he said. “Do your job.”

When asked how similar crimes are prosecuted, Ozanne said it depends on the information and evidence that law enforcement is able to turn up.

“If more information comes in, we will have the opportunity to review,” he said.

News 3 Now is not naming the man arrested because he is not currently facing charges for this crime.

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