Despite downward trending crime statistics reported throughout Lamorinda six months into 2016, locals losing catalytic converters – or cars – in the local BART parking lots are convinced work needs to be done.
Local police confirm reports of at least two catalytic convertor thefts at Orinda BART and two more in Lafayette – with replacements costing victims around $1,800 apiece – and there was also an armed carjacking at Orinda BART Thursday afternoon.
BART police are investigating that incident, which was executed so stealthily Orinda officers only received reports of a car speeding out of the station shortly after the incident was reported at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Officers later learned that the victim had been approached who brandished a firearm and commandeered their SUV, speeding from the area and disappearing before the victim could advise police of the crime. Officers were unable to locate the vehicle despite a wide search, according to Orinda Police Chief Mark Nagel.
Police say catalytic convertor theft is on the rise because they can be sold quickly for the precious metals they contain and are relative easy to access – with thieves favoring garages and parking lots and sliding under cars to do their work.
There are steps that can be taken to help secure the devices but victims, stuck with repair and insurance fees in the wake of theft, say they are hoping for more of a police presence at targeted stations.
Both Moraga and Orinda police chiefs have reported sharp reductions in crime reported in their respective jurisdictions so far this year, with Nagel attributing the 50 percent drop in property crimes, auto burglary and theft from a car to a dedicated crew of officers, good community involvement and heightened awareness by the citizenry – as well as the recently approved use of surveillance cameras in the city.