WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — A baker’s dozen of catalytic converters have been stolen over the past two days in Walnut Creek, mostly from Toyota models, a police sergeant said Tuesday.
Sgt. Ryan Hibbs said 13 catalytic converters were reported stolen, typically between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., concentrated in the areas of Citrus and Walnut avenues and Springfield Drive.
“The eastern part of the city, basically,” Hibbs said. “They did cover a bit of ground but they did have quite a bit of time to do it.”
Most, if not all, of the catalytic converters have been stolen from Toyota SUV’s, with Sequoias hit the hardest, he said.
There have been no sightings of the suspects reported to police and Hibbs is encouraging residents who see anything suspicious to call the department immediately.
“There’s sort of a stigma against calling the police because people might not think it’s that big of a deal or it’s just nothing,” Hibbs said. “But, we really rely on people calling in suspicious activity to catch suspects.”
Hibbs said Walnut Creek is not unique in experiencing a wave of catalytic converter thefts. In April, Hercules police reported a similar rash of thefts, also from Toyota Sequoias, 4Runners and Tacomas, according to Hercules police.
“They’re popular because it’s a relatively easy target and they’re not serialized, so there’s no way to track them” Hibbs said.
The thieves appear to be using a pipe cutter, which is relatively quiet and won’t attract attention, he said.
Thieves might get $50 to $250 for the parts, but Hibbs said it could cost victims anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000 to replace them when auto body labor costs are included.
He said there are a few measures consumers can take to secure the catalytic converters in their car. The easiest is parking the car in a locked garage, Hibbs said.
If that’s not possible, Hibbs said people could take their car to an auto body shop and buy parts to clamp on to the catalytic converter that makes it harder to remove. Or, Hibbs said auto shops can weld the catalytic converter in place.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity should call the department’s dispatch service at (925) 935-6400.
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