WCSO: Man Dies While Stealing Parts From Disabled Car

ZEBULON – The Wake County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the death of a Wake County man believed to have died while in the process of stealing parts from a disabled car. 

Shortly after 9:00am Monday, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a deceased person at US 64 and Debnam Road near Zebulon. When deputies arrived, they noticed the body of a man under a disabled car. The body was discovered by a tow truck driver who had been dispatched to that location to tow the disabled Toyota Camry. 

The deceased person was later identified by family members as 50-year-old Joshua Larry Diehl. It’s believed that Diehl was attempting to steal the car’s catalytic converter, when the jack he was using malfunctioned, pinning him under the car. It is unknown how long Diehl may have been under the vehicle before being discovered. 

Through the investigation it was determined that on Sunday night, the owner of the Camry was on her way home from work when she discovered she had a flat tire. With no way to change the flat, the driver called a friend to pick her up, around 10:00pm, and was making plans to have the car towed from the area the next morning. Sometime after the car’s owner was picked up, it’s believed that Diehl discovered the disabled vehicle and began the process of stealing the valuable car part. 

“Unfortunately, these types of thefts are on the rise,” Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said. “This is a national problem, partly due to the increased value of the precious metals in the part.” 

Additionally, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter thefts have increased since March of 2020, the start of the global pandemic. Those who become victims of these thefts face repair bills up to $3,000. 

Wake County Investigators continue to determine if Diehl is connected to similar reports of catalytic converter thefts in the area. 


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