LAFAYETTE (CBS SF) — A string of catalytic converter thefts from Bay Area Rapid Transit parking lots have commuters wondering just how vulnerable they are.
Wednesday night, thieves sawed off three catalytic converters from vehicles parked at BART lots; two at the Lafayette station and another at the Pleasant Hill station, police said. All three vehicles were Toyota SUVs.
“They’re high off the ground … and you can slide underneath them to easily remove (the converters),” said BART Police Officer Robert Haney.
Metal scrap yards buy them for the precious metals in them such as platinum.
BART Police say they routinely patrol lots and garages, but cutting a catalytic converter off a car with a reciprocating saw can take less than a minute.
At the Lafayette station alone, there have been 17 property crimes this year; cars broken into and items taken – and 10 vehicles stolen. Now five catalytic converters also stolen at that station.
Commuters Thursday expressed their surprise about the thefts. “There’s not much else I can do because I have no other option than to park here,” said BART commuter Thomas Kearney.
Even thought surveillance cameras record 24/7 and BART investigators say undercover officers perform regular stings, some commuters aren’t taking chances.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t park here at night,” said commuter Joel Benveniste.