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North Park man chase suspects during catalytic converter theft

North Park gives chase during catalytic converter theft
Posted at 4:01 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 21:29:40-04

San Diego (KGTV) - Video shows a North Park man springing into action when he woke up to thieves at work under his daughter's car.

Just past 1:30 a.m. Thursday, and just off 30th street, Karina Diaz was asleep in her bedroom, while her father, Javier, was in the living room.

"Fell asleep on the couch and woke up to a drilling sound. It was very loud," said Diaz.

Barefoot and wearing boxers, Javier is seen in surveillance video, leaping out the front door.

"Saw the car, pulled up next to my car. Instantly knew what they were doing," said Diaz.

Amid some laughter and some cursing, several people got into the car and drove off. Karina's dad got into his truck.

"He followed them a few blocks to retrieve a license plate, but they were going so fast in the neighborhood, he couldn't get a clear view of the license plate," said Diaz.

Back at home, Javier saw what was left behind. The catalytic converter had been removed from his daughter's 2008 Toyota Prius.

"Definitely going to be costly," said Diaz.

Her insurance plan won't cover the theft, so Diaz must pay the $2,000 repair bill out of pocket. Two years ago, thieves stole a catalytic converter out of the same car while it was parked near her home.

"It's very frustrating," said Diaz.

Those frustrations are shared by many car owners. In San Diego, between July and December, police report nearly 250 catalytic converters were stolen, an increase of more than 600% from the first half of the year.

The devices are stolen for precious metals contained inside. The Prius is the most targeted by thieves. Karina is hoping thieves who stole her catalytic converter will be caught. Her father was able to get a partial plate.

"Glad he reacted quickly. Proud, happy that he's okay," said Diaz.

Javier saw on the license plate, the number '8' and possibly the letters 'T' and 'F.'

Anyone with information is asked to call San Diego Police at 619-531-2000.