YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Several businesses around Yuma County have reported their catalytic converters being stolen from their vehicles. The Yuma Police Department said it had seen an increase of these kinds of reports this year.
From December 2020 to April 2021, YPD says it has taken at least 27 cases where people reported their catalytic convertor being stolen from their vehicles.
Annie Clary, the Yuma Family YMCA Executive Director, says in February, three of its busses had its catalytic convertor stolen overnight. The thieves left the YMCA with a $6,000 price tag in damages and to replace the converter. It also had to cancel its after-school program for an entire week because it no longer had sufficient transportation for its children.
The Treehouse Kids Club also recently fell victim to these thieves with one of their vans. The kid's club owner, David Sears says the thieves tore through the van's oxygen sensors and other wiring that will cost at least $6,000 to repair. With the van being out of service it's affected school pickups.
"It causes us not to be able to pick kids up that day and had to make other accommodations to get kids you know because our daycare van was out of service. People don’t think about what’s going to happen when they do stuff like that.” says Sears.
Chris Moorhead, operations manager at Precision Automotive says he's seen a rise of people coming in to the shop to replace their stolen converters.
“Smaller cars, lower cars are much harder to get to. It the pickups, the vans the things that are up and easy to get to that we’re seeing the problem with.” says Moorhead.
Moorhead suggests for people to purchase motion detector lights and keep you vehicle in a well lit area to try to precent thieves from hitting your car next.
The converters contain a metal that can be sold for hundreds of dollars. Moorhead also says all it takes is two minutes for a thief to cut the converter out then be on their way.