Police warn residents about uptick in catalytic converter thefts

Tools and saw, allegedly used in catalytic converter thefts. Photo courtesy of BPD

Piedmont police want residents to be aware of a string of recent catalytic converter thefts in Piedmont.

On August 14, a Piedmont resident reported on NextDoor that they were the target of a catalytic converter theft on August 13 or August 14. According to a notice PPD posted on that site on August 11, thieves are targeting Toyota Priuses and other similar vehicles because their lightweight nature makes it easy to lift the vehicle and remove the device with a portable reciprocating saw. Police Captain Chris Monahan says the crime can take as little as 60 seconds.

According to the police department, most of the thefts have occurred in the early morning hours. A newer bright red hatchback station wagon was seen leaving the area after one of the thefts and may have been involved. Police recommend parking your vehicle in a garage or backing it into your driveway. If you park it on the street, make sure to park in a well-lit area.

PPD says they will have extra patrols out and encourage residents to report any suspicious activities to police immediately at (510) 420-3000. This is an ongoing investigation and the police department is working with neighboring jurisdictions to catch the thieves.

On Wednesday, August 7, Piedmont police stopped a suspect vehicle associated with the recent string of catalytic converter thefts in Berkeley. The incident later resulted in the arrests of two suspects. See our earlier reporting here.

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