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Thief Walks Off With DTV Converters

QUINCY, MASS.A man walked out of a CVS early Thursday morning with a cache of stolen DTV converter boxes, WHDH-TV is reporting. Police are said to be looking for the man, who took a box of 12 converters worth an estimated $700. It seems he knew what he was looking for. He simply walked in and picked up the case of converters, and told the store clerk that he had a gun when asked how he intended to pay.

There’s been no pervasive trend of DTV converter-box thefts, most likely because they can be had for $20 with a government coupon. The street value would be negligible. Only spotty reports have emerged. One converter-box theft was reported in Portsmouth, Mass., in January when a woman there discovered her home had been burglarized. A 37-year-old St. Paul, Minn., man was busted in mid-May for lifting a converter box from a Radio Shack outside of the suburb of Savage.

On the supply-side, there have been scams. One identified last year by the Better Business Bureau involved a company that was selling five-year warranties for $59 with “free” DTV converter boxes. With shipping and handling, the total cost was nearly $100 per converter box. The company, Universal TechTronics, which was also doing business as Heat Surge LLC, racked up nearly 200 complaints with the BBB. Heat Surge LLC now sells Roll & Glow Electric Amish Fireplaces. -- Deborah D. McAdams