Watch CBS News

YouTube Surfing Leads To Charges In String Of Catalytic Converter Thefts

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A night of YouTube browsing led to an arrest after a thief made off with several catalytic converters over the summer.

Surveillance video from A-Scape Landscaping in Shakopee shows someone driving up in a blue Taurus, going up under a car and cutting out a catalytic convertor before taking off.

The company's owner says it cost about $8,000 to fix.

Recently, a woman who wished not to be named said she happened upon WCCO's September report while watching videos on YouTube. She said her friend noticed the masked man and recognized him as her boyfriend. The surveillance showed a blue Taurus, and the friend said that was her car.

That boyfriend was Joshua Haugan, who the woman said had just been nabbed for the same type of crime a few days before they watched the video.

"It kind of became real then," she said. "I said, 'You should say something.'"

Her friend didn't, so she did, looking up the number to A-Scape Landscaping, where Tony Newman had spent $5,000 in repairs to fix what, in scrap value, meant only about $100 for the thief.

Newman said he's been hit for converters three different times.

"You just hate to be robbed as many times as we've been robbed," Newman said.

After the tip, Newman contacted Shakopee police. As it turned out, Haugan was already in jail in Wright County.

"I've been so angry at him that I haven't slept," Newman said. "But now that I know he's in jail, I hope he gets better, and that's from the heart."

Haugan's record shows theft charges dating back to 2012.  Shakopee police say they plan to push for charges in the most recent case.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.