HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A Broward County home’s surveillance camera captured a group of suspects trying to steal a catalytic converter off a vehicle parked outside.
When the car’s owner saw what was happened, he scared the crooks away.
In the video, a white SUV is seen pulling into the driveway and parking sideways in order to block the view of another vehicle.
That’s when a pair of masked men wearing dark clothes hop out of the SUV with large tools in hand.
Tammy Ayon lives just a few doors down from where the crooks were caught in the act by the homeowner, who apparently banged on a window, sending the masked thieves fleeing in a hurry.
This all in broad daylight.
“Very bold thieves,” Ayon said. “It’s extremely concerning that we live in an environment where this kind of brazen crime is taking place but how desperate. How desperate do criminals have to be?”
The problem is a pricey one for car and truck owners, who become victims within a matter of minutes from the crafty thieves.
“It’s about $3,800 (to replace),” said mechanic Shon Khan.
The problem has gotten so bad that mechanics at Lou’s Super Service Auto Repair have had to change how they do business.
“We can’t even leave cars in front of the shop anymore, they’re cutting the catalytic converter off,” said Khan.
The car part that controls vehicle emissions is made up of precious metals like platinum and rhodium, which sell at scrap yards for several hundred dollars, more than the price of gold these days.
The thefts are up some 300 percent nationwide and organized criminal rings are what’s behind the problem.