Catalytic converter stolen from Suffolk woman’s SUV in ER parking lot while she’s hospitalized


SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – There’s the pain of injury, and then there’s the pain of expense and inconvenience.

Lately, Yvonne Whitley knows them both all too well.

While Whitley was in the hospital after a serious fall, someone was performing a very unwanted and illegal operation on her SUV.

Whitley showed up at the emergency room at Sentara BelleHarbour in Suffolk on Mother’s Day after taking a fall the night before.

“I ended up having to be transported to Norfolk Sentara to the trauma unit because I had more than one broken rib and a punctured lung. So they transported me and my vehicle was left [in the BelleHarbour parking lot],” she said.

Whitley says she and her daughter checked with BelleHarbour to make sure it was OK to leave the big SUV in the lot. At some point during the five days she was hospitalized in Norfolk, someone got under her vehicle in Suffolk.

She was discharged Friday and went directly home from the hospital. A friend went to get her SUV and was startled by a loud, rumbling roar from where the catalytic converter used to be. The two silver exhaust pipes that were connected to it were sheared with clean cuts.

Catalytic converters contain precious metals including platinum, palladium and rhodium.

And now even if Whitley can’t make much noise, the SUV does.

“I was really upset but my pain was so bad I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t get real, real mad because it hurt so bad,” she said. However, her Excursion is making too much noise and illegal to drive on the road without a complete exhaust system.

And Whitley says just out of the hospital is not a time to be without wheels.

“I’ve got [follow-up] doctors’ appointments coming up,” she said.

Whitley says her friend contacted Suffolk police right away.

A spokeswoman for Sentara said the theft in the parking lot is an isolated incident, and they are working with Suffolk police. She said the BelleHarbour parking lot is under surveillance 24/7.

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