Parts thieves targeting cars at Fresno State

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Fresno State police are spending more time patrolling university parking lots after a rash of catalytic converter thefts. (KFSN)

Fresno State police are spending more time patrolling university parking lots after a rash of catalytic converter thefts.

At least 10 victims returned to find the pricey part removed from their cars in a matter of minutes on Tuesday and Wednesday, but a surveillance camera captured one of the suspects.

Several parking lots on campus have been buzzing with thieves.

Toyotas are the top brand targeted and, within minutes, they are ripping off one catalytic converter after another.

"They were driving a newer black Toyota Corolla with paper plates," Amy Luna with campus police explained. "There was three suspects and what they were doing is two suspects were on the lookout while the third one went and removed the catalytic converter from the vehicle and then they would move on."

The suspects are picking lots with easy access.

Lots P1, P2 and P6 have been hit the hardest. The rash of thefts even has community service officers who normally check parking permits, also looking for suspicious people.

The trio of thieves is striking in the middle of the day when choices here are plentiful. They have avoided being caught so far, but one thing they haven't been able to escape surveillance cameras.

Cameras policing parking lots have managed to collect a few pictures of the suspects. Right now detectives don't know if the thieves are students or just opportunists.

"It looks like they are targeting vehicles that are a little bit higher off the ground where it's easier for them to access the catalytic converter," Luna said. "So, when it's a little higher, they can get in their quicker and remove it faster."

The victims have not only been students but a few visitors as well. University police are now asking students to pay close attention to any unusual activity in campus parking lots.
Related Topics:
newstheftcarfresno statefresno state police departmentsurveillance cameraFresno - Northeast
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