SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Blowtorches and a brazen daytime theft – suspected catalytic converter thieves were caught in the act in South Sacramento over the weekend.
It was the wake-up call people in a South Sacramento neighborhood near Fruitridge Road weren’t imagining on early Sunday morning.READ MORE: Judge Denies Restraining Order Against New Sacramento City Council Employee
Cellphone video shot by a neighbor who didn’t want to be identified showed two thieves trying to go after catalytic converters.
“It was early 5 a.m., somewhere around there,” a neighbor named Nick, who wanted to hide his identity, said.
“It was my grandma’s Prius,” said Daniel, who didn’t want to disclose his last name. “Grabbed my clothes and tried to scare them off.”
Daniel and other neighbors are seen in the video trying to stop the thieves from cutting off and getting away with the car’s catalytic converter.
The thieves scrambled to get their tools and get underneath the car to continue to hack away at the undercarriage of the car.
Eventually, a neighbor, who was recording the incident and didn’t want to be identified, is threatened with a blow torch by one of the suspects.
The man with the blow torch can be heard raising his voice at the neighbor for him to get out of the area.
“It was kind of scary, but what can you do?” Daniel said.
“You guy see the video. It was just chaos,” Nick said.
Despite the hectic morning, Daniel told CBS13 the thieves didn’t make off with the converter from his grandmother’s Prius.READ MORE: Low River Levels To Blame For ‘Earthy’ Taste To Sacramento Tap Water, City Says
The video shows the two thieves jumping into a white van and then trying to free the jack from underneath the Prius.
One of the thieves is stopped the first time and then is successful on a second attempt.
The thieves fled the neighborhood but, some hours later, neighbors realized they weren’t as lucky when it comes to their catalytic converters.
“I just thought it was this car. We caught them. They stopped and that’s it. They didn’t go to my car,” Nick said.
“When I started my car, it sounded like it’s missing a catalytic converter.”
These neighbors may have banned together.
“It’s the Ukrainian community. We all stick together. We all look out for each other,” Daniel said.
But, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said that people should call them and not step into these kinds of situations.
The sheriff’s office says you don’t know if a suspect has a weapon, how they’ll respond to your actions and the public doesn’t have the training for these situations.
“I mean, there wasn’t much we could do. It happened within a few seconds and they were gone,” Daniel said. “Picking up the phone wasn’t the first thing on my mind.”
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office says the first thing to do is call 9-1-1 and not to step into a situation like that.MORE NEWS: James Duncan Harrell, 24, Identified As Pilot Killed In Small Plane Crash Near Truckee
The neighbor whose catalytic converter was stolen said his part is insured.