Catalytic converters were stolen from six cars in Belcamp and one in Aberdeen the first weekend in December, according to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
Three were stolen from cars on Grey’s Run Circle, in the 4300 block of Carlyle Garth, the 1200 block of Brice Court and the 4300 block of Horner Lane, according to Cristie Hopkins, director of media relations for the Sheriff’s Office.
The three others were stolen from cars at Next Car, an automotive business in the 4300 block of Pulaski Highway in Belcamp, Hopkins said.
“We believe they were all targeted overnight Dec. 1,” she said.
A converter was also reported stolen Dec. 1 from the 800 block of Long Drive in Aberdeen, according to Aberdeen Police Lt. Will Reiber.
He said the owner of the vehicle had already replaced it himself and did not want to file a police report, Reiber said.
It’s likely the same person or group stole the six converters “based on the way they’re all grouped together” and they were all stolen the same night, Hopkins said.
Thefts such as these are often a drug-motivated crime, she said. The parts are stolen then sold to scrap yards for cash, similar to thefts of air-conditioning units or copper wire.
“I can’t say for sure in these cases because a suspect has not been identified to know the exact motivation, but a lot of times we see things like this stemming from the heroin epidemic,” Hopkins said. “Suspects like in this case, are generally dealing in high volumes. They travel up and town the corridor to find a bulk of items to scrap at once.”
None of the residential thefts were reported until the morning, when the residents either came out to start their car or noticed the damage, she said. In one of them, the resident heard a noise outside overnight but didn’t call police.
“It goes back to ‘See something, say something.’ If you hear someone tampering with a vehicle or see something, call us,” Hopkins said. “We’ll have the opportunity to get out there and possibly identify a suspect while they’re still in the area.”
If they wait until morning to call, the suspects are long gone, she said.
“A lot of times people don’t want to report something because they’re not exactly sure what’s going on,” she said. “If something’s not right, call us, that’s what we’re here for.”