Thieves targeting cars at Sky Harbor Airport

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PHOENIX – At Community Tire and Auto Replacing a stolen catalytic converter is common.

“We probably get one in the store at least every week,” Owner Howard Fleischmann said.

In the past few months Phoenix police say more than 250 were stolen off of parked vehicles.

“People would slide under a pick-up with a small saw, battery-operated, and within 30 seconds, drop this thing out of here,” said Fleischmann.

Thieves were even daring enough to recently steal about a dozen catalytic converters off vehicles sitting in the parking lots at Sky Harbor Airport where lights, police and roaming security guards are everywhere.

“It’s a very secure location, but sometimes things can happen,” Sky Harbor spokeswoman Deborah Ostreicher said.

Catalytic converters are stolen for the precious metals inside. Thieves sell them to scrap metal shops for a few dollars or at least they used to.

A new law went into effect Wednesday night that prohibits shops from buying them.

Phoenix Sgt. Trent Crump says, “Hopefully the legislators have helped to cut back now we have the deterrent of the theft itself, but we also have the deterrent of those who would purchase those for the metals that could also be charged with a crime, so we’re hoping that helps in the decrease of these.”