Saw-wielding thief targeting vehicles in North San Diego County

Posted at 11:07 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 02:07:35-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Mira Mesa man has a warning for drivers: A thief may be targeting something on your vehicle, costing you thousands in repairs.

On Maya Linda Road, Bryan Reese's trip to work was cut short when he started his 2006 Toyota Camry.

"It was just really loud, and I could tell something was wrong with it. I looked under the car and that's when I saw my exhaust had been cut, and the catalytic converter was gone," said Reese.

A required part of the smog system, catalytic converters have become a target for thieves. They contain metals like platinum and palladium and rhodium. Thieves can get hundreds of dollars from unscrupulous recyclers.

And this thief was no amateur. Because those cuts were so clean, the likely tool of choice was a cordless saw.

"It looks like an exhaust shop went in there and cut it out," said Reese.

Police tell us since mid-December, a thief with the same M.O. has struck five other times.

Reese says detectives told her the other victims also parked on the street - in Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo, and Rancho Penasquitos.
The targeted vehicles were Toyota Camrys and Honda Odysseys. Experts say thieves like those vehicles for various reasons, including the number of metals inside the catalytic converter.

As for Reese, he says his repair bill will be about $3,000, a bill he can't afford.

"It pretty much means we are going to have to get rid of the car at this point," said Reese.