During an undercover operation, Hobbs Police Department officers arrested Andrew Nickson after a slew of catalytic converter thefts were reported by several businesses.
According to the HPD arrest report, Andrew Nickson, 28, of Hobbs, was arrested and charged on April 20 with receiving stolen property over $500 under $2500, a fourth-degree felony.
The report states on March 22, officers responded to an electrical utility company on the 500 block of East Bender Boulevard in reference to larceny and criminal damage. An employee advised officers someone allegedly stole several catalytic converters from three fleet vehicles parked on the west side of the building.
Officers then went to a Hobbs recycling center on the 900 block of South Grimes Street and were told they do not purchase catalytic converters; however, an individual by the name of Andrew Nickson allegedly does, according to the report.
The officer states in the report after traveling to the 1200 block of East Lincoln Road, the suspect was contacted and two “freshly cut” converters were observed on the ground, “in plain sight.” Nickson allegedly claimed to have cut the converters out of an older vehicle and denied stealing, selling or buying catalytic converters the report states.
Less than a week later, on March 29, officers responded to the 1200 block of South Fourth Street in reference to criminal property damage. A city of Hobbs employee advised officers a city truck’s catalytic converter was cut off and hanging underneath the truck. The employee told police the fence was cut and estimated the damages to both the vehicle and fence at $2,700.
On another occasion, officers responded to the 900 block of East Snyder Street in reference to criminal damage to property. A city employee advised officers three of the city park’s vehicles had damage to the exhaust systems, as well as several other vehicles.
According to the report, on April 10 officers responded to Prairie Haven Cemetery in reference to tampering with a motor vehicle. A city employee reported that an unknown suspect stole a catalytic converter from a dump truck inside the gated area.
The report states officers then responded to the 900 block of West Broadway Street in reference to a report of tampering with a motor vehicle. Officers made contact with the victim who stated that he “noticed a weird noise coming from the vehicle he was driving.” The victim claimed to “have checked the vehicle and noticed the catalytic converter missing from under the passenger side of the vehicle.” The victim then allegedly stated he checked an additional vehicle and noticed both catalytic converters missing from it as well.
The report states on two separate occasions on April 6, officers responded to two calls for larceny charges. The parties at each call reported to have their catalytic converters missing from their vehicles.
Additionally, the report states that on April 13 officers responded to a report of criminal damage to property on the 1600 block of East Main Street. The victim was contacted and neighbors advised they observed Nickson and another individual removing the catalytic converter from the victim’s van.
“Both neighbors stated they observed the men place the item into the back of the car and drive off quickly,” according to police reports.
Officers went back to the East Main Street property to follow up. When officers arrived, Nickson was at the residence returning the catalytic converter and apologizing for taking the item after an associate “misled” him, according to the report.
The report states undercover officers allegedly then presented Nickson with four stolen, catalytic converters. Two of the large catalytic converters were valued at $400 each, and two of the smaller ones were valued at $40 each.
The undercover officer stated Nickson allegedly agreed to buy these converters and pay the officer involved $400 for them. After the deal was made, Nickson allegedly agreed to speak with officers. The report states Nickson told officers “he had a lot of converters in his detached garage that he has bought from separate individuals.”
Nickson was arrested and charged on April 20 for receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony.
According to court records, Magistrate Clipper Miller released Nickson on an unsecured appearance bond of $2,500 the following day. He is scheduled to appear on June 2 for a preliminary hearing to determine if the charges will be bound over to District Court.