West Seattle Crime Watch: Car theft & catalytic-converter theft

Two theft reports to share this morning, from West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports. First, a car theft reported by Kristen near 13th and Cloverdale:

I was hoping to get the word out there that my boyfriend had his car stolen between 12:30 am – 4 am this morning from right in front of our house. It is a 1997 Green Honda Civic license plate AGX 4662. I literally looked out the window and saw it right before bed and it was gone just a short time later when he was leaving for work. I know there have been quite a few car thefts in the area lately and am just trying to be as proactive as we can at getting the word out there, with the hopes of getting it back.

If you see it, please call 911, as advised by SPD’s @getyourcarback tweet about this theft.
**ADDED 11:18 AM** In comments, DJ Allyn suggested a map of area thefts. This data is not always reliably available but the city’s police-report map looks fairly up to date now (yesterday, for example, it wasn’t) – here is a screengrab showing the 11 thefts it lists for December 28th through today:

(back to original 10:47 am report) Also out of the WSB inbox – the second catalytic-converter-theft report this week:

Just want to report that the catalytic converter was stolen from my Toyota Tacoma, sometime between Wednesday, January 2nd, mid-morning and 6:00 pm (Thursday, January 3rd). The pipe was cut and a couple of rubber rings were cut and a piece of metal bent to remove the converter. The truck was parked on 36th Ave SW, between Hanford and Hinds. The alarm was on, but it wasn’t activated by the theft.

SIDE NOTE: In our ongoing New Year’s resolution to share more reminders about WSB site features you might have missed – here’s a note about our Crime Watch page, which is another way to catch up on links to recent crime-related reports AND also a place to see the latest SPD West Seattle/South Park incident tweets. You also can access the archive of front-page crime reports here.

12 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Car theft & catalytic-converter theft"

  • DJ Allyn January 4, 2013 (11:02 am)

    What would be handy is a map marking out all auto thefts in the area.

    • WSB January 4, 2013 (11:12 am)

      You can always check the SPD map – http://web6.seattle.gov/mnm/policereports.aspx (and deselect everything but “auto theft”) – but lately it’s had glitches (missing a few days worth of incidents), and it’s not embeddable. Regarding what is directly reported to us – I don’t like to make maps in cases like this because we do NOT get word on ALL the incidents – so I could put up a map showing, for example, the two car thefts reported to us in the past couple days, but it wouldn’t be representative, because those are two out of, I don’t know how many.
      That said, I have just parsed the aforementioned city map (which appears to now be updated through early this morning) to show the 11 car thefts it has for the past week in West Seattle, and will add the screen grab to the story – TR
      (added) I didn’t see Schwaggy’s comment till after adding this. Just one caveat on the “incident response” map – that map shows 911 calls – they do not all result in reports or verification of the calls, though “auto theft” is a fairly reliable category.

  • schwaggy January 4, 2013 (11:06 am)

    You have to set your filtering options, but this is pretty handy:

  • Bee January 4, 2013 (2:04 pm)

    Maybe a silly question but how do you know when a catalytic converter is stolen? Does the check engine light come on or something? What do the rubber rings look like? How would we know if our vehicles had been hit?

  • westcoastdeb January 4, 2013 (2:11 pm)

    Check engine light comes on, exhaust sounds different. Vehicle also has a different feel when driving.


  • Todd January 4, 2013 (3:42 pm)

    We haven’t had anyone coming in lately, but every few months there seems to be a wave of converter thefts.
    The exhaust will be REALLY loud and the check engine light will come on, though maybe not immediately (depending on the particular make and model).
    Scrap value varies, but Toyota trucks and 4 Runners are a common target – be wary

  • Slider January 4, 2013 (7:07 pm)

    Last Friday night 2 Toyota’s on our street, a 4 Runner and a truck had their catalytic converters stolen on the 4000 Block of Fauntleroy Way. Both were reported to the police.

  • Michael Sullivan January 4, 2013 (9:49 pm)

    These recycling centers have to know that 99% of the cat converters that are brought in by these scum bags have to be stolen. Why are they even allowed to accept them?

  • Candace McCutcheon January 5, 2013 (2:11 am)

    As for the stolen 1997 green Honda Civic, do not despair. Saint Anthony helped me find my daughter’s stolen car and I’m not even Catholic…I learned about him when I was always losing things when I was a music director at a Catholic school. It really works! I pray to St. Anthony that your car will be found in reasonably good shape very soon. A good place to look for it is in all the local tow places. A wonderful woman named Carol found my daughter’s car on the side of the road in Tukwila (it was stolen in Seattle) and we got it back because it just so happened that she worked at Pete’s Towing…and the car (a Nissan Thiefinder…oh…I mean Pathfinder!) was in one piece! It’s fantastic that you have the license plate memorized — that’s how I got the help in finding her car — I memorize license plates! I’ll keep my eyes open…AGX 4662…I will have my eyes looking out for you!

  • CJ January 5, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    I agree with Michael Sullivan. How many people legitimately recycle catalytic converters? the businesses must suspect they are accepting stolen property. How about these businesses taking contact info of people bringing such items in? Can serial numbers be engraved on the converters?

  • PH January 5, 2013 (8:13 pm)

    Serial numbers on converters won’t work if the scrap dealer is complicit.

    Push for a ‘no cash for scrap metal’ state law. Not just for catalytic converters but copper wire, manhole covers, guard rails, etc.

  • Candace McCutcheon January 6, 2013 (11:56 pm)

    As for avoiding cars being stolen (I’m talking about the entire car here!) there are four things that come to mind as a deterrent: 1) A car alarm, though sometimes cold kitties can set them off when they’re trying to warm-up; 2) “The Club,” which I use and it has worked well; 3) putting a LoJack device somewhere on your car that can’t be seen and 4) Removing the distributor cap after you park it and put it back on when you want to drive it.
    The blog is a great deterrent of course also. The more eyes that are watching, the less crime can occur. A few years back, a small group of skateboarders actually scared off someone in the process of trying to steal my car at the Seattle Center. I was very grateful to them. All the thief got was the top portion of my lock button that I didn’t put back on because I didn’t want it to be stolen that way in the future. I hope this is helpful. I’m sorry people steal.
    As for pushing for a “no cash for scrap metal law,” I guess we could all start writing letters to our representatives – that might help. Good luck. I write and talk too much…however, maybe I could write a letter about the idea for the new law!

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