Thieves targeting parts from parked cars while owners shop

Crooks looking for car parts in parking lots

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Thieves are stealing parts off cars in a local parking lot while the owners are shopping or working inside a store on West 117th Street.

It happened at a local Home Depot. One victim speaks exclusively with Cleveland 19 News.

You'd like to think you can go to work or shopping, park your car and not have to worry about somebody ripping off your vehicle. But, that apparently isn't the case. Just ask Jerry Rivera.

"It only took me about three seconds to actually see that something is wrong with my car."

Rivera left work inside this Home Depot on West 117th Street heading to his car to go home Thursday afternoon. He got a big shock as soon as he saw his car.

"I looked at it and I'm like oh my God. Are your serious? I didn't want to believe it."

Jerry's car fell victim to a thief. Someone got under it and stole the catalytic converter.

"It was sawed off. It was a fresh cut and I'm like 'Really? Me? I praise God. I do my prayers and I take care of what I got to take care of and why me?"

Jerry says unfortunately, he isn't the only one. Rumors have been rampant that this has been happening in the parking lots for months. Surveillance video caught the thief in action. It was not available to Cleveland 19 yet, but Jerry saw it.

"They showed the video when my car is being lifted. The guy is actually next to it for a hot moment and then my car goes down and the car just takes off."

Jerry had to drive his louder car without its catalytic converter to his sister's house until he can get it repaired. If you see a car fitting this description, please call the cops.

"I heard that this car that's on the video was actually seen a couple of times. It's like a grey, Pontiac Sunbird. A little updated version, 4-door. The front-end driver's side bumper is gone, a little bit of it's gone. Dark grey color, like a charcoal grey."

Hoffa Assad, the owner of the local auto repair shop Auto Express USA, says thieves take the copper from catalytic converters and sell it for maybe $60. He also says it could cost up to $700 to replace it.

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