Fresno thieves are after catalytic converters, again

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A warning from Fresno Police: thieves are after catalytic converters. There's been a huge increase in thefts, leaving victims frustrated and detectives hunting for suspects. (KFSN)

A warning from Fresno Police: thieves are after catalytic converters. There's been a huge increase in thefts, leaving victims frustrated and detectives hunting for suspects.

Just in the downtown area there were seven victims last month and another eight this month, while police are blaming a newly passed proposition one woman is warning people who live and work downtown.

Judy Heu was hit just before Christmas, and just after.

"I've been a victim twice in a row within a month's time within three weeks of each other."

Heu started her car to get some lunch, and was met with a sound she's never heard.

"All of a sudden there's this big loud pop sound it's roaring you have no idea it's like driving a monster truck," said Heu.

The administrative assistant figured out the catalytic converter was missing after spotting blank spaces under her car. Her company then fenced off the parking lot, which did nothing to deter the thieves who are after SUV's, because they're easy to crawl under. It has Heu and her co-workers on alert.

"They're coming out more during break time during lunch time everyone is more aware of their surrounding," said Heu.

Mechanics at D and R auto say thieves scrap the parts because it takes seconds to make a quick buck. Unfortunately it's an expensive fix for the driver, sometimes upwards of a few thousand dollars. They suggest making it hard for the thieves. Service Manager Efren Sicairos suggests making it hard for the thieves.

Sicairos said, "Easiest solution? Go to a muffler shop have them weld the bolts up, maybe get some brackets similar to these so it's secured to the cat, not the pipe."

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the thefts increased when voters passed proposition 47 in November. The initiative reduced drug possession to a misdemeanor and kept a lot of offenders on the street.

Chief Dyer explained, "We knew for a fact that while they were in jail they were not stealing catalytic converters or breaking into homes we lost that tool and it's a little frustrating for us but we'll find creative ways to keep those people in jail."

As for Judy Heu, she's out 8 grand and hopes police will catch the thieves before they ruin someone else's car.

Mechanics also suggest engraving your license plate on your catalytic converter. That way if its stolen police can catch the thief red handed.



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crimetrackertheftfresno police departmentFresno
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