Thieves stealing catalytic converters for scrap

A lot of people are doing it - parking their cars in lots all over the Tri-state to ride the bus to work.

That saves gas money, but could cost you your car because thieves are stealing auto parts for scrap.

Police say these criminals stripped six cars in Newport just in the last two months.

They are going for the catalytic converter, which is found just underneath the car. And in park and rides across the Tri-state, dozens of them are ripe for the taking.

Judy setter thinks about the theft of her catalytic converter every afternoon as she gets in her car at TANK bus park and ride in the Newport Shopping Center.

She's one of about six who can say thieves stole her converter from the shopping center in the last two months.

"That's just a rotten thing to do to people that are working, you know, trying to earn a living. And then you get someone with obviously an old car. If they could afford a new one they'd be driving it!" she said.

Newport Police say converter thefts at this park and ride have gone up in the last few weeks, part of a trend that's left victims stranded in parking lots across the Tri-state.

What makes the park and ride lot a perfect place for crooks is most people park their car at the shopping center and catch a bus to a downtown job, leaving their cars for up to ten hours a day.

"As soon as you get in, and turn it on and it makes that terrible noise, then you know they got you," said Barbara Wright.

Wright says all this has people talking to each other about it on the bus she rides.

"People are frustrated about it. They don't know what to do," she said.

Those frustrated people often wind up seeing Scott Stewart at the  Car-X just down the street.

"They're stealing it to scrap it for the money," said Steward.

Stewart says it's the metal inside the converter that makes it irresistible, because it's often platinum.

Still, he finds the boldness of the thefts strange.

"As close as people park to the front of the buildings, no one sees nothing? That's what gets me," he said.

Many police departments say it's not just a problem at park and rides.

That's why police are saying if you're out and you see some thing strange, like someone underneath a car who shouldn't be there, call police and report it.

It may help them catch who is doing this. Sara Gouedy