PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – While you’re doing your holiday shopping, catalytic converter thieves are lurking. Two of these thefts occurred this week in the Mall 205 parking lot as cases of these thefts are on the rise.
The first theft happened near Target on Sunday, the other near Home Depot, both around 2 and 3 p.m.
In Diana Moore’s case, someone in the Target parking lot scared off the thieves in time, but not without damage to her car. Moore had to pay hundreds in repair costs.
“We were only in there for 20 minutes at the most and there was a man, a good Samaritan, saying ‘I just chased someone from under your car. I think someone was trying to take your catalytic converter,’ and sure enough they sliced through it,” Moore said.
Moore also gave this advice to avoid these thefts, “I think the only thing we can do presently, since it’s so high, is leave someone else in the car while you go into the store,” Moore said.
The other good Samaritan, Yeti Goodman who recorded the thieves in the Home Depot parking lot, also suggested keeping an eye out for this activity and looking out for one another by scaring away thieves.
“It was maybe 15 seconds and they were done and he got it so, keep your eyes peeled. Any suspicious activity just honk your horn, scare them off! You know, get your video out,” Goodman said.
Even if your catalytic converter doesn’t get stolen, insurance agents said it could still cost everyone money.
“When we see a big increase in high value type losses, it could certainly impact rates,” said Gunnar Olson, with State Farm.
State Farm reports a 293% increase in these kinds of claims across the U.S. Insurance rates can rise depending on the amount of crime in your area.
“Oregon, Washington and California all make the top 6 for these kinds of theft increases,” Olson said.
Oregon ranks 6th, Washington 4th, and California tops out at number one.
“During the most recent 12 months, we have increased payment in these types of claims from $9 million to $34 million,” Olson added. “So it’s quite quite an increase.”
KOIN 6 News reached out to the Portland Police Bureau to see if they would conduct a sting operation to catch these thefts.
“In the past that is something that we would probably do, but we also have to prioritize our limited resources. Investigating property crimes typically falls behind life safety emergencies and answering calls for service,” PPB sergeant Kevin Allen said.
While Honda’s and Prius’ are common targets for these thefts, all sorts of cars get hit.