Catalytic converter thefts in Fresno have increased significantly since the beginning of the year, the Fresno Police Department said.
As of Wednesday, 40 thefts had been reported citywide, 13 of which happened in southeast Fresno. Suspects have been targeting trucks and SUVs, which offer easy access to undercarriages. Although the crime takes only a few minutes to commit, repair costs range from $500 to $5,000, officials said.
Detectives named three suspects allegedly responsible for more than 20 catalytic converter thefts citywide: Ronald Woodard, 26; Robert Kajitani, 36; and Victor Valdovinos, 32. All three men are currently wanted on suspicion of grand theft and felony vandalism.
Woodard, Kajitani, and Valdovinos were allegedly caught stealing catalytic converters on three separate surveillance videos beginning Jan. 1, officials said.
To help prevent catalytic converter theft, officials recommend parking in well-lit areas, engraving license plate numbers on converters to make them traceable, and having converters securely fastened to a vehicle frames.
Anyone with information on the suspects’ locations is asked to call detective Robert Yeager at (559) 621-6338 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867.