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Las Vegas area nonprofit has catalytic converters stolen from vehicles

Fighting back: how to protect your vehicle from thieves
Posted at 8:22 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 09:02:12-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Over the weekend Transition Services in Spring Valley says they had catalytic converters stolen from four of the organization's five vans.

This isn't the first time this has happened to the organization and police say this crime is happening often around the Las Vegas valley.

Local auto shops say the part is highly desired by thieves currently because of its value and relative ease of stealing.

RELATED: Las Vegas police say thief targeting catalytic converters

Monday, Karin Ortega, a supervisor at Transition Services, and her employees attempted to turn on their vans and noticed something wasn't right. They heard what they say sounded like a race car and not the typical sound of their vans.

Shortly after they realized they had been targeted once again and the catalytic converters were gone.

Transition Services is a nonprofit that offers landscaping and cleaning service jobs to people with intellectual disabilities. As of Monday, they have not been able to proceed with their work due to the theft.

Ortega says they looked at the security cameras and realized that on Saturday around 10 p.m. someone was seen on the video and appeared to be removing the catalytic converters from the
vans.

“Pre-pandemic we were hit three different times with catalytic converter thefts,” Ortega said.

A representative from A-1 Auto Body Parts and Wreckage said the valley has seen a spike in similar incidents over the past three months. They have been getting calls daily from customers asking if anyone has brought in a catalytic converter because theirs was stolen.

According to workers at the store, these parts contain expensive metals and said these converters can go for up to thousands of dollars.

But for Ortega, the cost wasn’t her only concern.

“The most devastating thing was having to come into the building and let these 25 employees know that they will not be working that day or an undetermined number of days,” Ortega said.

13 Action News checked internet platforms and found several online ads online for converters. It is not known who is placing the ads, but the only contact information was an email address.

“For us, it is not just about the piece on our van, it goes a lot further,” said Ortega.

A-1 Auto Body Parts said it does not buy individual car parts to prevent them from buying stolen items.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says to help avoid this from happening to you, park your car inside a garage, if that is not an option, it recommends parking your car in a well-lit area with security cameras.

Devices to protect catalytic converters can also be bought online or in auto part stores.

We did reach out to LLVMPD and asked them to provide an updated number of reports filed and at this time they didn't have an updated number.

DAILY DEBRIEF: AN IN-DEPTH LOOK INTO THIS STORY

Daily Debrief: Rise in catalytic converter thefts in Las Vegas