Two suspects were arrested Tuesday morning in connection with a recent uptick in catalytic converter thefts that occurred at various BART stations around the East Bay.
A station agent arrested the individuals at Union City BART station after station agent Luther McGill called BART Police to report that he saw a man under a parked vehicle who appeared to be working on the car, according to a BART press release.
Four catalytic converters were stolen from Hondas parked at the North Berkeley BART station Feb. 23 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to BART Police.
Over the past few weeks, thieves have removed catalytic converters from Hondas at several East Bay BART stations, according to the BART Police Department’s daily crime log. The agency saw six thefts of catalytic converters in January and 23 thefts in February.
Along with Feb. 23’s thefts at the North Berkeley station, other catalytic converter thefts from Hondas and Toyotas occurred at the El Cerrito del Norte BART station and Hercules BART transit center over the course of the past month.
“Despite the four thefts that occurred on Feb. 23, this is not a growing and consistent problem. Crime figures show that auto theft has gone down by 9 percent,” said Alicia Trost, a BART spokesperson.
Catalytic converters are used in exhaust systems to oxidize and reduce toxic by-products such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide into less hazardous substances such as carbon dioxide and water vapor.
The external location of catalytic converters make them easy to steal, and catalytic converters contain precious metals such as platinum and copper that can be sold. According to the Sacramento Regional Transit District, thieves can get $50 to $250 per converter.
“For the theft of catalytic converters, we tend to see them in ways where someone or groups of people take several of the converters all at once. … We patrol all of our parking lots and distribute the police accordingly. We also pull videos from cameras outside the BART when a crime happens to identify people,” Trost said.
James K. Allison, a BART spokesperson, encourages BART riders to report suspicious activity to BART police or use the BART Watch app.
“We ask riders to report anything suspicious and help be our eyes and ears,” Allison said.