LMPD: Thieves robbing cars in broad daylight - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

LMPD: Thieves robbing cars in broad daylight are targeting key component

Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Police say criminals looking for a quick buck are targeting vehicles for one particular part, and you may not even know if you've been hit until you go to start your vehicle.

"It takes thieves only a matter of minutes to crawl under the vehicle and steal it with a small saw," said Sgt. Eric Johnson of the Louisville Metro Police Department.

That's what's happening all around Louisville, especially up and down 6th street downtown. 

"All of these have been during the day - from 7 am to about 6 or 7 at night, so they've all been in broad daylight in open parking lots or on the streets, none of them have really been in garages where its better concealed," Sgt. Johnson said.

Crooks have been revving up their efforts to steal catalytic converters, which can be big money for them, and even bigger headaches for you.

"Anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on exactly what kind of converter you have and where you take it. And victims that have had these stolen - it can cost them as much as $1,000 to have these converters replaced," Johnson said.

The catalytic converter helps control your car's emissions, and it's something many people may not have heard of. It sits under your car, near the exhaust, and as you can imagine, the taller the vehicle, the bigger the target.

"Thieves mainly target large SUVs," Johnson said. "And for the most part it's been Jeep vehicles and Toyota 4runners mainly because they're high off the ground and the converter is just easier to get to."

And the villains are being pretty bold - committing the crimes in open parking lots and streets in broad daylight, something you'd never know until you go to start up your car.

"You'll notice it right away.  It is something unexpected and most people wouldn't even think to look under their car to know that its missing - probably until you get it towed away to a mechanic and they tell you someone stole your catalytic converter," Sgt. Johnson said.

Police give these tips to help put the breaks on their game.

"There are parts you can buy at your local mechanic that they can install to make it harder to steal especially if you own a large SUV it's something I'd take precautions about where you park and maybe back your vehicle in so it's harder for someone to crawl underneath it," Sgt. Johnson said.

Police say the valuable metals inside has fueled the interest.

"It's got different metals in it - platinum being one that's very valuable right now - and recycling centers are paying good money for that," Sgt. Johnson said.

Catalytic converters are a crucial part of your vehicle, helping to clean your vehicle's emissions and reduce environmental damage.

Police don't have any suspects at this time for the sudden string of thefts; however, they do say they've been able to trace a blue 4-door sedan, possibly a Chevrolet, to a few of the crimes.

If you have any information, you're asked to call the anonymous LMPD crime tipline at 574-LMPD.

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