Father, son kill man trying to steal catalytic converter from car, Arizona cops say

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A father and son fatally shot a man they accused of stealing a catalytic converter from a Toyota Prius outside their Phoenix home, Arizona police said.

Agustin Chairez Romero, 22, and his father Agustin Chairez Duarte, 46, face charges of second-degree murder in the Tuesday, May 24, shooting, court documents say.

Police responding to reports of a theft at 4:50 a.m. found a 27-year-old man dead inside a crashed vehicle, a Phoenix Police Department news release said.

Officers detained Duarte and Romero, who told police they had confronted the man and shot at him when he tried to drive away, killing him, the release said.

Duarte told police he was awakened by a dog barking and found the Prius on jacks with the catalytic converter removed, court documents said. A Jeep and pickup truck pulled up outside the house.

Duarte and Romero grabbed some guns and went outside to confront the intruders, court documents said. After an argument, the 27-year-old man got back in his Jeep and began to drive away.

Romero and Duarte opened fire, hitting the driver in the head and chest, court documents reported. The Jeep crashed a short distance away.

Catalytic converter thefts are skyrocketing nationwide, The Sacramento Bee reported. Thieves resell the devices, which help reduce smog emissions, for the platinum, palladium or rhodium inside.

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