If you wake up one day, stagger out to the get-to-work car coffee in hand and fire the beast up only to have it sound like a coffee grinder filled with ball bearings – you may have joined the ranks of recent victims who have had their catalytic converters stolen by crafty crooks so fast they should consider jobs working as pit crews at the Indy 500.
But they don’t and they’re here, hitting 13 cars in Walnut Creek alone yesterday, 15 in Danville, more than a dozen in San Ramon. Police say the thieves like Toyotas – slipping under two Tundras and eight Sequoias in neighborhoods near the Countrywood Shopping Center at Bancroft and Treat.
The thieves struck between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., police said.
The converters have become a hot commodity for thieves. Popular because of their value, relative ease to steal and their lack of identifying markings, thefts have skyrocketed in recent years with recyclers paying an average of $50 per converter for the precious metals inside them. That price can go up to $250 for the “right” converter.
Any car manufactured after 1974 can be a target but, as we’ve seen, trucks and SUVs are the vehicles most often targeted. Toyota Trucks and SUVs in the ’90s to the late 2000s are especially vulnerable because their converters are more exposed.
As you can see from the video – it doesn’t take long for these guys to snag one.