Plymouth Police are investigating a cluster of catalytic converter thefts that all happened in the same timeframe. A total of six cars were targeted Sunday night into Monday morning.
Four of the thefts were in the parking lot of the gated Jefferson apartments near Quinwood Lane and Bass Lake Road. Two were in the park-and-ride ramp at Highway 55 and County Road 73.
Police say the thieves look for vehicles that are higher off the ground, like SUVs and trucks.
"The type of vehicles seem to be more Toyotas," says Capt. Craig Lindman of the Plymouth Police Department. "And I think that’s simply because of the distance between the ground and the bottom of the vehicle and apparently it’s easier to cut out the catalytic converter because of the configuration of the Toyota."
The appeal of catalytic converters is what's in them. Police say the small amounts of platinum, palladium and rhodium in one can bring in about $100 to $150 at a scrap yard.
The victim’s cost to repair one can be as high as $1,500.
"[A catalytic converter] can rage anywhere from $300 to up to $900 just depending on the make and model of the car," says Joe Johnson of Wholesale Auto Repair in Brooklyn Park. "Then labor on top of that. And, unfortunately, if they do just cut it out, we have to replace other pipes as well. It just kind of stacks on top of each other and it’s a bad situation all the way around."
Lindman says the police department is using surveillance video and other leads to track down the thieves. He says the city sees a few crimes like this each year. They usually happen in clusters, like it happened Monday.
Police say the best way to protect yourself and your neighbors is to be vigilant. If you notice people looking in or under cars, driving slowly through areas or if you see an unfamiliar car parked in the neighborhood, call 911.
May 18, 2012