Thief caught on camera stealing catalytic converter in Fairmount

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Many residents in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia told Action News they feel helpless because catalytic converters are being sawed off their cars while parked outside their homes. The thieves are stealing this expensive car part in under five minutes.

Surveillance video caught one thief jacking up an Acura on Parrish Street around 8 a.m. Saturday. The video shows the thief jack up the car and saw off the converter in around two minutes.

Tony Leontaras, a mechanic with Meineke in Spring Garden, said he's seen an increase in customers coming in to get a new catalytic converter after theirs was stolen. He said you may notice your converter was stolen because your car may either stall, misfire, or make a loud noise when you turn it on, depending on the year your car was made.

That's what happened to Stan Horowitz, who lives in Fairmount. He said he took his Prius to Leontaras on Friday after his car made a loud noise when he turned it on.

"I turned on my car and it made a racket, and I knew something was wrong," said Horowitz.

Joseph Gorman, who also owns a Prius, said the same thing happened to him last month outside his Fairmount home.

"When I turned the car on it sounded like a motorboat," said Gorman.

Thieves can sell the part for around $200, but Gorman said it cost him around $2,000 to replace it.

Without the catalytic converter, toxic emissions are released.

"Those fumes could actually make you dizzy, or pass out," said Leontaras.

Residents are furious it's happening right outside their doorsteps.

"I was shocked at how bold this guy was, how quick he did it," said Gorman.

Police said they are investigating, and they say it's happening all around the city. If you recognize the man in surveillance video police want to hear from you.
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