BART Parking Lots Vulnerable To Catalytic Converter Thieves

by John Ramos

ORINDA (KPIX) — Following last week’s mass robbery of a BART train by a mob of teenagers, the agency’s acting police chief, Jeff Jennings, promised that his officers would redouble efforts to protect the public.

Protecting passengers aboard trains is one thing but protecting the automobiles they leave behind may be an even bigger challenge.

Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converters are unprotected and attractive to car burglars. (CBS)

Crime logs show eight thefts of catalytic converters in just the past four days. The thefts occurred at stations in Orinda, Lafayette, El Cerrito and Pittsburg. Catalytic converters can be sold to metal recyclers for $20 – $200 but it can cost a victim up to $1,000 to replace one.

“It’s a little bit scary … that … I might lose important pieces of my car because I just left it in a parking lot,” BART rider Jackson Lany said.

It may be that a single crew is hitting East Bay parking lots but that wouldn’t be a first. About a year ago, BART police arrested two transients from the Richmond area for doing the same thing.

Used Catalytic Converters

A pile of used catalytic converters. (CBS)

Perhaps we all have a false sense of security when it comes to our automobiles. As he left his car for a bike ride, Max Goodman told KPIX that he’s lived in places where car break-ins are a lot worse.

“I’ve had my car broken into once or twice in Cleveland but Oakland and the Orinda area have treated me better … it’s a low bar,” he laughed.

BART has 49,000 parking spaces system-wide and advises that the best deterrent to crime is for riders to report any suspicious activity they may see in the parking lots immediately.

Overall, vehicle thefts and burglaries in BART lots have decreased over the past three years, BART officials said.

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