Thieves Target Catalytic Converters in a String of Robberies

Thieves are focusing on auto thefts in a new string of catalytic converter thefts. Homeowners have been reportedly confronting the thieves that have been seen under parked cars, but police captains warn that these thieves have displayed handguns to homeowners.

A homeowner in Illinois, on West Higgins Avenue, reported a loud noise from the front of his home at 4:30 a.m. The man shouted at the thieves, who brandished a handgun before fleeing the scene of the theft.

Tactical units in the area have shifted their hours to be more active during the hours of 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Catalytic converter thefts in San Luis Obispo rose unexpectedly in the month of May before ceasing in June and July. Police responded to three calls of thefts in the first week of August. Honda Accord and Toyota Prius models are most commonly the target of theft, with the thefts occurring between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Police officers are asking the public for help to generate leads on the thefts. Officers are asking for surveillance video from the areas where the crimes occurred with the hopes that cameras may have captured images of the thieves.

Vehicles will continue to run without the catalytic converter in place, but check engine lights will come on to alert the driver that there’s a problem with the operation of the vehicle. The P0420 code may be listed to state that there’s an inefficiency in the catalytic converter.

The thefts have also started to pop up in Texas. Sugar Land, Texas reports that there has been in increase, this August, of catalytic converter thefts. High-profile SUV vehicles and vans have become the target of the thefts. Police officials claim that the higher off the ground the vehicle is, the easier it is for the thieves to steal the catalytic converter.

The first weekend in August led to seven vehicles at the First Colony Mall having their converters stolen.

Police sent out additional staff to monitor the mall’s parking lot and came across two men sawing off a converter. One of the thieves ran away, but officers were able to apprehend one of the thieves. Police claim that they have a “good idea” of who the perpetrator is.

Cody Lutz was charged with felony theft. Officials claim that the units are not sold for parts, but the units are sold for scrap since they contain precious metals. Vehicle owners will have to pay out of their own pocket to replace the catalytic converter or rely on insurance companies.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.