By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Acres of cars were all lined up at Sacramento International Airport with the owners long gone on a plane out of town — and it set the perfect scene for thieves.

“I hate to say but you take your chances with a thousand cars here and hope yours isn’t one of them,” said Mike Moss.

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Moss came back from his trip with his car in one piece, but that’s not the case for other travelers. Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies arrested five suspects this week after they were caught with roughly a half dozen catalytic converters stolen from cars parked in the economy lot at the Sacramento International Airport.

“I’m a little concerned because my car is going to be here. So it’s concerning, how safe is it?” said traveler Diana. “And, mind you, the cars are here sometimes for days, so we don’t know.”

“We’re trusting the airport to park our cars here, then we should definitely be given a little bit of security,” said Chris Vidal.

So how secure is your car when you take off on a flight?

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CBS13 is getting answers from airport officials. Aiport spokesperson Scott Johnston says the economy lot has four cameras where the thefts happened. The airport also works with a parking contractor to watch for suspicious activity and an airport dispatch center is in direct contact with sheriff’s deputies.

“There is a team of full-time deputies stationed at the airport. They employ security people. Certainly, you can say anyone should have more but I think what it comes down to is vigilance,” said Sacramento Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rod Grassmann. “I would tell you this, this is a problem that could be rectified by the car manufacturers.”

Sgt. Grassmann points to a false sense of security in a public paid lot but also the fact that the auto industry sells cars without securing the catalytic converters.

“So if people really want to point the finger, that’s where they should point the finger,” said Sgt. Grassman.

“I feel violated for everyone else that had their cars stripped of parts I mean that’s a horrible thing to come here after a trip and find that their cars damaged,” said Moss.

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Considering the high cost of the catalytic converters, the thieves are facing felony theft charges.