February 27, 2013
MPD Warns Of Uptick In Thefts
MPD crime analysts have now identified 24 cases in the greater Madison area where thieves have stolen catalytic converters from parked vehicles since late December. The majority are Toyotas: 15 cases involve 4-Runners, 5 cases involve Tacoma pickup trucks.
Criminals have hit a variety of parking lots with those near businesses, apartment complexes, and workplaces being frequent targets.
Monona Police, Fitchburg Police, and UW-Madison Police are among other area law enforcement agencies that have reported cases. In Madison, all police districts, save for the South, have been hit.
Catalytic converters are emissions control devices that contain precious metals. Crooks cut them off and try to sell them to scrap yards.
Thieves tend to target SUVs and trucks because they are easier to crawl under. They seem to like some Toyota models for that reason, and also because there is reportedly a larger quantity of precious metals in certain catalytic converters.
Criminals can cut off, or unbolt them in a couple of minutes.
This is not a new crime, but there has been an uptick in numbers in recent months. The MPD will be working with other law enforcement agencies, and with area scrap yards, as ongoing efforts to identify suspects continue.
Anyone seeing suspicious activity taking place in parking lots, particularly if there is someone crawling under a vehicle, should call police.
- Joel DeSpain, 266-4897