LANGHORNE, Pa. (CBS) — Car thieves are moving fast in the suburbs, stealing nearly a dozen catalytic converters from cars parked in popular shopping areas. Police are putting out a warning now with the holidays around the corner.
“I just think this is ridiculous,” a Bucks County woman said.
“I can’t believe it, honestly,” another Bucks County woman said.
Frustration and annoyance are boiling over the new way thieves are targeting certain valuable vehicle parts in Bucks County.
“There is no place to park your car safely anymore,” a Bucks County man said.
“What we’re having is a rash of thefts of catalytic converters from underneath cars,” Middletown Township Police Lt. John Michniewicz said.
Michniewicz says there have been about 10 thefts this past week alone.
Thieves targeted the parking lots of Target, Redners and the Oxford Valley Mall.
Though thieves cutting out catalytic converters is nothing new — after all, they are loaded with expensive metals that get top dollar at scrap yards — it’s when and where the thieves are targeting their victims that’s new.
“Quite a lot of times, it is drug-related to feed a habit,” Michniewicz said. “They’re definitely more brazen. Doing them during the day in public places where people are in and out all the time. Usually, it was overnight in car lots or the train stations, but now they’re doing them in public shopping centers.”
“Coming out and having your car fixed is just something else we don’t need during a stressful time of year,” a Bucks County shopper said.
In one case, investigators say a witness saw a man under the vehicle of her friend’s car, but she didn’t call the police.
Some shoppers, though, say they would know something was up.
“Walk away and call the cops,” a shopper said.
That’s exactly what Michniewicz says you should do if you ever see something suspicious.
“Call the police,” he said. “We’re out there. We’ll go over and check them out.”
Middletown Township police say the thieves normally work in pairs, but they don’t have any suspects.