By Ted Scouten

HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – It’s pretty incredible to watch home surveillance video capture crooks in a pricey BMW pull up to a Hollywood home at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

In seconds, they’re out the door with a jack, looking to steal a catalytic converter.

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Someone inside the home noticed as the car was being lifted.

“My husband saw them through the camera, go to the window and (he) hit the window and they run away,” said the homeowner, who did not want to be identified.

The video shows the thieves tossing the tools back in the car and battling each other to get into the back seat. In seconds, they’re off – driving across the lawn to get away fast before they could finish the job.

WATCH: Surveillance Video Of Thieves Targeting Catalytic Converter

 

Now, the homeowners are keeping their cars behind a locked gate.

“If people are capable of doing that thing at that time, what else can they do when people are sleeping in their house?” the homeowner said.

G from G Exhaust in Davie explains the theft of “cats,” as they’re called, are very common.

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“I get probably four, 10 a week,” G said.  “Guys coming in saying, ‘I got a bunch of noise under my car.’ Ninety percent of the time it’s a stolen cat.”

A van on G’s rack was one of several vehicles hit in a Davie Plaza.

“I had two vehicles here parking,” building owner Moshe Adoni pointed out.  “I came Monday the cats was missing.”

He said he’s been hit so many times he has a hard time sleeping.

“I come in the morning, I go under the car every single morning to see which cat is missing.  It’s already routine, everyday routine,” he said.

Det. Daniel Sanchez is with BSO’s Burglary Apprehension Team.

“There’s an increase in those thefts that have been occurring in the tri county area.” Det. Sanchez said.

They’ve made several arrests in this type of theft. He told CBS4’s Ted Scouten the big payoff for crooks is what’s inside.

“These catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum.  They are being melted and sold to jewelers across the nation,” he said.

So how do you protect yourself? Park in a fenced area or in the garage. Or buy a simple guard that can fit over the catalytic converter.

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The cost to replace a stolen catalytic converter is, on the average, between $300 and $600. For some specialties cars that price soars to over $3,000.

Ted Scouten