SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Santa Cruz County deputies have issued a warning to local Prius owners to take extra care in keeping their vehicles safe from catalytic converter thieves.
To emphasize their warning, they released home surveillance video of thieves at work. The entire crime took just 3 minutes.
The incident captured on camera and posted on Instagram took place at around 4:00 a.m. November 12 in the 1900 block of Maciel Ave. Two suspects can be seen in surveillance video stealing a catalytic converter from a resident’s Toyota Prius parked in the driveway. Roughly 20 minutes before the thieves take the converter, they can be seen driving up to the house and checking underneath the car.
When they come back the second time, it takes about three minutes for them to jack the car up and saw off the catalytic converter. The two suspects were driving what appeared to be a black Honda Civic and may be responsible for other thefts in the area.
Deputies said thefts of catalytic converters around Santa Cruz County are on the rise. So far this month, there have already been 20 cases throughout the county and over 130 this year.
“The majority of these cases involve theft from the Toyota Prius—which is consistent with reported national and worldwide trends as well,” deputies posted on Instagram. “We are asking residents to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity. The Sheriff’s Office also encourages residents to install motion activated lights, surveillance cameras and consider purchasing aftermarket shields for their catalytic converters to prevent theft.”