CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – "This is the one that was actually stolen off this '07 CRV and this is after we replaced it. This is a brand new catalytic converter that we just installed." Brandon Dewitt, service manager at Integrity Auto Source, said.
Dewitt and the staff at Integrity Auto Source on Timberlake Road are spending thousands of dollars Thursday putting in new catalytic converters in cars from the lot because they keep being stolen.
"The people that are doing this are very quick. A minute at tops they're having these converters out. They're very inconspicuous and gone,” Dewitt said.
Dewitt said the person or persons are targeting Honda CRVs and they’ve fallen victim at least three times this week.
"Very frustrating. Very frustrating. The average person works 8 to 5 to work. We have families to feed. Someone’s just coming in and taking it from us and it’s not right. It needs to be stopped,” Dewitt said.
The Campbell County Sheriff's Office wants business owners and the general public to be on the lookout.
"It's over 20 vehicles at this point in the last couple of months,” Stuart Herndon, investigator, said.
Dewitt and Herndon believe the thieves are selling the parts.
Police are working with scrap yard owners in the area.
“Just have a good policy on what's coming in and who they come from. Working with law enforcement if you do get some items that you do feel like are suspicious to contact us,” Herndon said.
A catalytic converter is found under your car.
"As soon as I fired it up it was extremely loud. You can smell a lot of gas fumes and what not coming through the cabin,” said Dewitt, describing the sound you should listen for if you’ve become a victim.
Dewitt hopes whoever is responsible is caught and offered this advice to car owners out there.
"Just watch your car. If you can park it in your garage park, park it in your garage or under a light somewhere it's not hidden,” Dewitt said.
There were also three separate reports Wednesday of these car parts being stolen in Rockbridge County.
If anyone has any information on these incidents, please contact Investigator Stuart Herndon with Campbell County at 434-332-9574 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900.