Catalytic Converter Thief Hits Pleasant Hill, Lafayette BART Stations on Wednesday

July 31, 2014 6:05 am · 27 comments

If you own a Toyota, you might want to take extra precautions to help prevent the theft of your catalytic converter.

On Wednesday, three catalytic converter thefts were reported at local BART stations – one in Pleasant Hill and the other two in Lafayette.

Here is the breakdown, from BART Police:

Catalytic Converter Theft – Pleasant Hill Station

7/30/14, 1915 hours

A patron reported via phone that the catalytic converter was stolen from their beige Toyota 4Runner while it was parked in the structure, between 0715-1700 hours.

Catalytic Converter Theft – Lafayette Station

7/30/14, 2029 hours

A patron reported by phone that the catalytic converter was stolen from their green 1997 Toyota 4Runner while it was parked in the center lot, between 0700-1930 hours.

Catalytic Converter Theft – Lafayette Station

7/30/14, 1816 hours

A patron reported that the catalytic converter was stolen from their white 2006 Toyota Sequoia while it was parked in stall #743 in the center lot, between 0615-1800 hours.

Killjoy July 31, 2014 at 6:12 AM

Not just a Toyota, but a Toyota 4WD. Apparently Toyota makes them high enough that the scum can slide underneath, and they can easily remove the catalytic converters.
Do these turds just turn in the whole converter? Or do they have to tear them apart for the precious metals?

PO'd July 31, 2014 at 7:08 AM

Amazing, isn’t it? The Lafayette station parking lot is wide open for daytime cat can thefts(no parking structure). Does it have cameras installed in parking lots? Are the patrols too predictable? Are recycling businesses asking any questions? Where is everybody?
Short of using armed drones, it sure does sound like there is a need for better/more patrolling.I think it would relatively easy to patrol a suburban rapid transit station, especially one with no multi-level parking structure.WOW!

anon July 31, 2014 at 7:18 AM

“Apparently Toyota makes them high enough that the scum can slide underneath, and they can easily remove the catalytic converters.”

Yup…get a beater to drive to BART — these trucks are way too easy to steal them.

Pro Fi July 31, 2014 at 7:36 AM

Thanks for the link Killjoy. Will be passing that on to few folks. Much appreciated.

RIII July 31, 2014 at 7:40 AM

I believe some “High Resolution” cameras would have a positive effect, especially when there are cars parked for 8 or more hours at a time. This type of thing could be spotted and “If” the Bart Police” had a presence other than driving down a freeway and Station Agents were to monitor the lots, it could be stopped.

Wrap your catalytic converter... July 31, 2014 at 7:42 AM

…with Treble Hooks. When you discover the thief knitted into your exhaust system you can drive him to the police station.

Chevelle girl July 31, 2014 at 8:01 AM

Thanks for the info, just bought a toyota 4WD for my daughter!

Mike K July 31, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Getting to point where I don’t know if my Tacoma will be “whole” when I get back from work in SF daily. Bart needs more police presence at all the stations, fewer managers and paper pushers.

Walnut Creek Resident July 31, 2014 at 8:38 AM

When ever I am in a BART parking lot I look around first after I get out of my car!! I have never ever seen any thing out of the ordinary. I just wonder how in the blank do these blanking creeps manage to do this in such a public place? Are there surveillance cameras around and what about the cops or just other folks? It is hard to believe that so many times these people do so much harm and never get caught. Not good.

carguy July 31, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Pretty sure these smegmites turn in the whole converter to be recycled.

Anonymous July 31, 2014 at 8:43 AM

BART should consider getting a police department.

Silva July 31, 2014 at 8:48 AM

They aren’t kidding about “park at your own risk”.

BagsFlyFree July 31, 2014 at 9:41 AM

If you own a Toyota Truck and park at Bart, you are a target.. If you decide to contunie to park at BART, buy the locking device that makes this theft much more difficult to pull off. In addition, dash cams can help ID the perps as they walk up to the vehicle. Many of these cameras can be had for under $200 and also help with hit n runs or other insurance related claims.

BFF Out!

Don P - N. Concord July 31, 2014 at 9:43 AM

I guess the BART police fell asleep in their patrol cars while they were parked in the back of the lot.

Concord PD's Best July 31, 2014 at 10:00 AM

There seems to be a common thread among these thefts. I just can’t put my finger on it…. Hmmmmm.

Tom July 31, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I’m sure he’s on his way to Orinda.

Walnut Creek Resident, I’ve always wondered that myself. My guess would be people minding their own business, leading busy lives, leave this to the police, etc.

When I was younger, I didn’t like nosy neighbors. I’ve changed my mind. Keep an eye on our place while we’re working, document everything, and call the police.

Thatguy July 31, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Three minutes that is all it takes. BART is a great target for them, but his happens all over the place, including our own driveways.

Hello? Bart Police? July 31, 2014 at 10:19 AM

I love how the Bart police are fairly adept at handing out tickets for lame infractions but look the other way when the big stuff happens. Then again, stopping this sort of thing doesn’t impact their bottom line.

How is it possible these creeps can rip these off without notice? I would imagine it requires at least a Sawzall to remove – which tend to make a decent amount of noise. Not to mention a suspicious looking character crawling under random cars in the parking lot.

Also, when are recycling places going to require a commercial license to recycle suspicious things like large amount of copper wire or catalytic converters? If they stop accepting this stuff from bottom feeders, it should begin to quell the problem.

Moe, Larry & Curly July 31, 2014 at 10:20 AM

@ Anonymous, first it has to be approved by a sergeant.

Wildcat July 31, 2014 at 10:35 AM

BART Police are worthless. I don’t if I’d want to park at a BART station anymore. Weekly car thefts, break ins, vandalism, etc. Seems to me they have enough officers to man each station full time. Too busy driving the roads I guess. About the only time I see one.

Look in the Mirror July 31, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Wait a minute here … blaming BART police?
IF you want to place blame, try people YOU elected to the State Legislature.

Assemblywoman Bonilla and Sate Senator Mark DeSaulnier, both democrats, voted for AB-109 back in 2011. That bill made it extremely hard to send a convicted Felon to State Prison. Most Convicted Felons now serve multi year sentences in County Jails in this state. Bill also changed sentencing criteria on 500 crimes and any sentence given is automatically cut in half.

As a result of AB-109, Felons see the streets sooner and County jails are overcrowded.

What does all that mean?
Catalytic converter theft is a property crime, just like breaking into a residence, business or vehicle. Misdemeanor criminals / property criminals are routinely shown the jailhouse door because of jail overcrowding caused by housing convicted Felons that used to go to State Prison.

AB-109 is a get out of jail for misdemeanor dirt bags. IF they are caught and convicted of a misdemeanor crime they will do little time.

Deterrence of crime thru threat of incarceration in this state has been rendered a JOKE.

Feckless politicians made Prison overcrowding not their problem, with passage of AB-109. They forced it down onto the 58 CA Counties and made our streets less safe. They’ve turned jails into revolving doors.
WHY do you vote for these people?

Drvrdadca July 31, 2014 at 1:23 PM

I have a co-worker who saw someone try to steal his cat-con from his truck in his driveway. The guy ran when the garage door opened. There was one bolt left on the cat-con when he got spooked. My co-worker had the bolts welded on. Usually no need to replace this item, so welding the bolts was a good idea in the long run.

Elwood July 31, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Crazy Uncle Joe says a shotgun is all you need.

A pump action 12 ga with full choke and 00 buck works well.

Cruella July 31, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Had my cat con stolen from my 4-Runner in my driveway (North Concord). The bottom line, after replacing and getting a “cage” installed to the tune of $500, is that if there was not a market (scrap metal places buying these), this would not be an issue. Enough already. I’m sure these perps head in with boxes or bucketfuls at a time. Shame on the scrap places that buy them.

Killjoy July 31, 2014 at 5:55 PM

I’m with Cruella. Devalue the damned things so they don’t take them for scrap anymore, and you kill the demand/thefts.

PH Dad July 31, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Killjoy, Hate to be a killjoy, but you can’t devalue the price of Platinum which is what these units have inside of them. Scrap dealers are once again the real problem. If a catalytic converter comes in from anyone other than an auto shop or dealer, it should be required to be tracked.
Toyota should stamp the VIN on the converters of all of their 4×4’s or just weld the bolts on at the factory. It’s generally a life of the vehicle item so making it difficult to remove should not be an issue.

working class stiff August 5, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Retired claims adjuster here. Most stolen catalytic converters are sold to people who need a catalytic converter to get their car to smog, not to scrap dealers. Some cars have converters that are easy to steal, held on by only a few bolts. When I was working people would tell me that their car was parked in a BART lot all day and I could just drive over any time I wanted and look at it. I would go to BART, double-park in the aisle and spend 10-15 minutes inspecting and photographing the car. Did this countless times for decades, from Daly City to Pittsburg; not once did anyone ask what I wad doing there.

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