At least two Morgan Hill residents reported stolen catalytic converters taken from their parked vehicles last week.
The thefts took place at Creekside Village apartments, between East Dunne and Diana avenues on the east side of Butterfield Boulevard, according to police.
The devices, which regulate the vehicles’ carbon emissions and contain precious metals, were stolen from a Toyota 4Runner and a Toyota Tacoma pickup, both of which were parked outside the victims’ homes, according to one of the victims.
The owner of the 4Runner said the theft happened between 1:20 and 2:25 a.m. Thursday. The victim did not want to be identified by name, but wanted to warn other residents and her neighbors in case the thief or thieves are still in the area.
The other theft likely occurred about the same time, between the hours of 5 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday, when the crimes were reported, according to Morgan Hill police Sgt. Troy Hoefling.
Used catalytic converters can be sold as scrap recyclable metal for up to $120 each, according to a number of Internet services that buy and sell scrap metal. To install a new catalytic converter in a vehicle can cost more than $2,000.
Hoefling said catalytic converters are most commonly stolen from pickups or sport-utility vehicles, because suspects can crawl underneath to reach the parts more easily. The converters are often stolen with the help of battery-operated saws, and it takes “less than a minute” to remove.
Vehicle owners can take some precautions to avoid being victims of such theft, Hoefling said. These include parking the vehicle in well-lit areas, an area where there’s a lot of traffic or in a fenced area. To assist in the recovery of the parts and the arrest of a suspect, police also recommend vehicle owners engraving their license plate number on the catalytic converters, or enlisting a muffler shop to reinforce the part’s attachment mechanism to the car’s frame.