SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There’s been a recent rash of catalytic converter thefts on the Sacramento State campus, and the crime spree is costing college students hundreds of dollars.
“I kept my Toyota in my garage,” Rick Pasalo says in an interview with CBS13′s Checkey Beckford.
But Pasalo doesn’t have that luxury when parking his Toyota pickup on Sac State’s campus.
Now he’s worried his parked ride, a favorite for catalytic converter thieves, might be missing a crucial component when he returns.
“Every time I have my break, I have to come and check on my truck,” he says, laughing.
Pasalo has cause to worry. Since the start of the semester at the end of august, thieves have made off with catalytic converters from seven high-profile Toyota pickups and SUVs on the university campus.
In August, there were 19 catalytic converters reported stolen in the entire city of Sacramento. On a campus with a student population of 30,000, nearly half that number were taken in less than four weeks.
Cesar Nevarez with Smog Diagnostic Specialists in Midtown says the converters, which regulate the amount of exhaust from the engine to the muffler, can be easily unbolted by thieves who are after the precious platinum inside.
“I’ve had one from a customer where they stole it off his truck. It had to come from the dealership and it was $700 or $800 bucks
“This type of crime is increasing so we want people to take precautions,” a Sac State spokeswoman said.
And that’s why staff member Juliana Raskauskas called campus police last spring after she noticed hooded men casing parked cars.
“They were looking under the cars and just kind of suspiciously looking at cars,” she says.
The university says it has increased campus police patrols in response and it’s advising students and staff to park in high-visible areas and under lights at night.
Also, anyone who sees suspicious people in the university’s parking lots is asked to call campus police at (916) 278-6851.