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Catalytic converter thieves target East County business, parking lots

Catalytic converter thieves target East County business, parking lots
Posted at 4:39 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 22:03:56-05

LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - Catalytic converter thieves continue to eye businesses, including one East County business hit twice in two weeks.

January 30, just past 4 a.m., in the gated lot of Christian Brothers Emergency Building Services in Lakeside. Cameras captured a man climbing over a wall, near the company's trucks. Hours later, when crews arrived and tried to drive the trucks, they received a loud surprise.

“It’s like NASCAR, super loud,” said General Manager Micah Larrabee.

Larrabee says they discovered two of the trucks were missing their catalytic converters, two from each truck.

“We were really upset, in a sense violated that someone would step onto our property and do this to our vehicles,” said Larrabee.

Repairs cost more than $7,000.

More than a week later, on Wednesday morning, video revealed two figures in the same lot. Hours later, workers made another painful discovery.

“One of the guys comes in kind of frantic, and he just whispers, ‘They got us again,’” said Larrabee.

This time, four trucks were targeted and eight catalytic converters were sliced off. Half of those trucks had just been repaired from the previous theft.

“I would say my heart sank. I felt just like it was my home was invaded and something stolen,” said Larrabee.

His business is hardly alone. Sources tell us in early February, thieves cut out 14 catalytic converters in Amazon box trucks from a lot in Rancho Bernardo. Police reports were filed.

Back in Lakeside, Larrabee got a visit from deputies Wednesday afternoon. He was told two men were discovered with catalytic converters during a traffic stop. Deputies brought out the catalytic converters, went under the trucks and discovered that they matched.

So far, four of their catalytic converters have been recovered.

“It's real. It’s happening. Make sure you do what it takes to protect yourself,” said Larrabee.

The sheriff's department says the investigation is ongoing and declined to say if anyone has been arrested.

Meanwhile, Larrabee says his company has taken several steps to improve their security measures.