OAKLEY (CBS SF) — Police are warning residents about a string of thefts involving more than a dozen catalytic converters stolen from Toyota vehicles in Oakley over the past several weeks, police said Friday.

Oakley police Sgt. Robert Roberts said the thefts have occurred across the city and most typically take place between the hours of 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.

“The suspects are doing it very quickly,” Roberts said. “The (catalytic converters) are just bolted in, so they’re doing it within one to two minutes.”

Upwards of 14 or 15 cars have been targeted in a roughly three-week time-span, Roberts said. He believes the thieves are targeting Toyotas because they’re higher off the ground than other makes.

“And those are just the ones that have been reported,” he said.

Without the catalytic converters, the cars can operate, but sound as if there is no muffler, rendering the cars unfit for travel on California roads.

Roberts said police suspect two people are involved in the scheme, one to take the converters out of the cars and the other to stand watch.

Sometimes the thieves make off with half a dozen in one night, he said.

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“It’s people who are driving around in the wee hours of the morning,” Roberts said. “But, they probably already know which houses to go to, which means that they’re probably scouting them out.”

Anyone with information about the thefts is encouraged to call Oakley police at (925) 625-8855.

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