Thieves stealing car parts from underneath vehicles in lots - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Thieves stealing car parts from underneath vehicles in commuter lots

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SOUTHINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Thieves working commuter lots along Interstate 84 aren't after what's in those cars, but instead, what's underneath.

Connecticut State Police are investigating a string of burglaries at commuter lots along I-84 between Hartford and Waterbury.

Mechanics said thieves can slide under a car on their backs when nobody's around, cut the catalytic converters out and be gone before anyone notices.

These catalytic converters, which are used to lower pollution emissions in cars contain some very precious metals including platinum.

Police said they think the thieves are selling them for scrap and mechanics told Eyewitness News even a very tiny amount can get more than $100.

"From our perspective, these are basically crimes of opportunity. So we, for our part, want to make these lots more visible," said Connecticut Department of Transportation Spokesman Kevin Nursick.

State police said the most recent incident happened at a Cheshire commuter lot over the weekend, but they've had cases like it reported all along I-84 in that area.

"Somebody went to go out to lunch, and went to pull away and their exhaust system was hanging off the car," said Bill Mandia of Woodbury. "They cut the catalytic converter right out of the brand new car."

DOT officials said they've seen incidents such as this before and they've tried to cut down brush and trees around lots in the past to make them more visible.

"A little bit of infrastructure work, a little bit of stepped-up patrols, that seems to have a big impact," Nursick said.

State police troopers have increased their presence in some of these lots that have already been hit. They are trying to at least be a deterrent for thieves.

If drivers notice anything suspicious in one of the commuter lots, they are advised to call the local police department in the area.

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