AKRON, Ohio (WJW)-- Police in Akron are trying to track down whoever is stealing dozens of catalytic converters from vehicles all across the city. Nearly three dozen cars have been vandalized in just one week.
Jalal Aboanza and his son, Hussein Aboanza, own King Benz Auto Mall on Brittain Road in Akron. They said in recent months, this month especially, they've been hit numerous times by thieves, stealing catalytic converters from vehicles parked in their car lots.
"We lost almost 17 catalytic converters at the other location, and with this location here, we lose about eight catalytic converters," Jalal Aboanza said.
The part is usually located underneath the car. It's designed to reduce toxic gas emissions The owners said they have lost business when unknowingly showing a car that is missing one, causing it to make an unmistakable sound.
"They start the car up, no catalytic converter, what am I gonna tell them? Oh yea, we're gonna fix it in a second... They're gonna be like, no, we're going somewhere else," Hussein Aboanza said.
"You cannot tell until you start the car, you hear the car very noisy," said the elder Aboanza.
According to Akron police, at least 33 catalytic converters have been stolen from vehicles in seven different locations across the city from Jan. 6 through Jan. 13.
"It takes about two hours for us as a mechanic, I don't know how they can just quick... Maybe have quality machine, have cut machine or something," said the father.
The thieves often sell the metal to scrap yards for quick cash. But the thefts are costing this dealership thousands of dollars.
"It's not like once a month or once every two months. You look under these cars and tons are gone, you know what I mean. And it's not cheap to just, oh, quickly replace it," said the younger owner.
"It costs around between $300 and $400 to fix the catalytic converter… We cannot claim through the insurance because it always happen, always happen, you can't... I take the loss by myself," said his father.
Akron police said in at least one incident, the suspect or suspects cut a hole in a fence to get onto the property. Investigators are also trying to gather surveillance video to see whether any of that can help identify the suspects.
The dealership owners we spoke to today said they would like scrap yard owners to ask more questions of people who try to sell catalytic converters to help determine whether they could be stolen.
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2TIP. You can also call the Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS, or text TIPSCO to 274637. All callers can remain anonymous.