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Hybrid Vehicle Catalytic Converter Thefts Spike In Davis

DAVIS (CBS13) — Thieves are targeting catalytic converters on hybrid vehicles in Davis at an alarming pace.

It's a story we reported several months back, but the problem is only getting worse. Officials said 30 have been stolen in the last month.

One resident has been hit three times this year.

"I always park in this parking lot," said Jack, who didn't want his last name used.

Jack lives in J Street Apartments. Since March, thieves have stolen the catalytic converter off his Prius three times while it was parked at the apartments.

"I had a feeling that if I keep parking it here it's going to get stolen again, and sure enough it did," said Jack.

They struck again July 4th and they hit his neighbor's Prius too.

READ ALSO: Catalytic Converter Thefts Spike In Tracy

"I called the tow truck, and a tow truck starts coming down and I'm like, 'Buddy, that's my tow truck.' But no, his catalytic converter was stolen as well," said Shelby Lowry.

After Jack's catalytic converter was stolen a second time, mechanics installed rebar over it as a type of anti-theft device, but that did not work.

Doug Hatton with Center City Automotive said, "If you put a piece of rebar on it, and if they get a chain-cutter, it won't cut it. Well, they went through the trouble of going to the curvy section of the catalytic converter which is harder and they got it cut."

Hatton showed us why hybrid catalytic converters are worth more. Put simply, they are twice the size of a traditional catalytic converter which means twice the valuable precious metals inside.

Hatton said getting under the low Prius and ripping them out can result in several thousand dollars of damage.

READ: Police: Thieves Targeting Prius Catalytic Converters In Recent Crime Spike

"We have to change the converter assembly and the air-fuel rail sensor," said Hatton.

Jack's damage was covered by insurance all three times, but his neighbor's damage was not. Both feel the apartment complex isn't doing enough to prevent them from being targeted.

"I feel like there is not enough lighting or security cameras," said Jack.

Both also said authorities are not doing enough to police scrapyards, which, by law, are supposed to require documentation when buying catalytic converters.

"I wonder how these people are providing documentation because clearly they are stealing and making money off it," he said.

Management at the J Street Apartments had no comment on this story.

Police are asking for the public's help monitoring these scrapyards, and if they know stolen items are being accepted, to contact them.

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