Caught on camera! Crooks break into a Waterbury auto shop and take off with catalytic converters. Police said they’re dealing with a spike in these thefts across the city and are working to put a stop to the crimes.
Surveillance video from Saturday night shows a van pull up to Precision Autoworks on Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury. A man gets dropped off and heads to the back parking lot. He knows cameras are rolling, so he shields his face with a hood, grabs a rock and throws it at a motion sensor light so he can’t be seen. When that doesn’t work, he dismantles it. Then a surveillance camera is turned away, so the crime that’s about to happen isn’t recorded.
“The rage sets in," said owner Alex Fernandez. "Oh my god, someone came on my property and did this.”
Fernandez said his employee started up a car Monday morning, heard it rumbling and realized the catalytic converter was gone.
“At first it’s like, where do you turn, what do you do?” Fernandez said.
They were missing from nine other cars too, and Fernandez said fixing the damage would cost $10,000.
Fernandez said the man seen on surveillance video and his accomplice are the ones who ripped them off and made a hole in the back fence to haul the converters out.
“Something like this happens… it’s pretty disheartening,” Fernandez said.
A few miles away, at Loehmann Chevrolet, more than a dozen catalytic converters were stolen from their lot late last week, workers said. The same thing happened in March.
Investigators said drivers have been getting victimized in commuter lots across the city.
Waterbury police have started extra patrols in the affected areas. Precision Autoworks is also stepping up security in case the crooks show up again.
“Don't come back because if you do we'll be waiting for you,” Fernandez said.
Police said it's not clear if all the crimes are linked.