Apparently, their mission was possible.
Professional thieves targeted Converter Connection on July 17 and made off with $5 to $600,000 worth of platinum and rhodium, according to owner, Robert Ward. The business is located in Stephenville on U.S. Hwy. 377.
From surveillance tapes, Ward said thieves entered the business about midnight and then used his 24-foot trailer to haul off the materials at 1:30 a.m.
Ward's business involves removing the precious metals from salvaged catalytic converters from automobiles for recycling.
Ward said he has another of these businesses located in Dallas and chose Stephenville for his second location because he thought it would be a safer area.
“We were held at gunpoint in Dallas,” Ward said.
Before the big hit, Ward said he was burglarized twice by ex-employees but for amounts not as great as the last one. The Erath County Sheriff's Department was able to solve those cases, he said but so far they haven't had any luck solving this one.
“I call them periodically and they say they are still investigating,” Ward said.
On top of the staggering loss, Ward is presently having trouble getting the Hartford Insurance Company to pay his claim after being a client for 10 years.
“They paid the first two claims but because of the amount they think I'll go out of business before they have to pay me,” Ward said. “Fifteen employees with families depend on me for their livelihoods. I've been fighting the insurance company for four months.”
Sheriff's Investigator Larry Wand did not return phone calls regarding the case.
ANGELIA JOINER is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or 254-965-3124,ext. 238.