MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- The hunt is on for thieves who hit a local car dealership causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage to more than two dozen cars.
It happened at Mobile Mitsubishi on Airport Blvd.
“Everyone in this line right here got hit,” said Chris Skoglund, General Manager at Mobile Mitsubishi.
The SUVs had their catalytic converters sawed off in seconds overnight.
Skoglund says 25 vehicles were hit.
“Once it was one car we kind of figured if it was one there was probably many more, so that’s when we looked up under all these on this line and pretty much every single one on this line has a catalytic converter cut off of it,” he said.
For thieves, it is a quick cut leading to an easy buck, but for the unlucky victims it is a major pain.
The dealership says once they pay to fix each car, they will not be able to sell them at full price which all adds up.
“$9,000 per unit to try and get them fixed back ready for sale,” Skoglund said.
The crooks want the precious metals inside the part from the vehicle’s exhaust system. They then sell it to recyclers for a few hundred bucks.
Catalytic converters thefts are up nationwide, including right here in the Port City.
“We’ve been busy, busy, busy having to replace them,” said Steve Logan, Manager at Ronnie’s Mufflers on Theodore Dawes Road.
Logan says they are fixing at least 10 cars a week.
“Three times as bad,” he said. “There has always been converter thieves running around, but not like now. It makes you wonder who’s all doing it. There’s a lot of it.”
Back at Mobile Mitsubishi, the crime was not caught on camera, but MPD is investigating.
Skoglund estimates it will take at least three to five months to get all of the cars fixed.
“For us business owners it’s just hard, we already got big expenses as it is and to have an extra expense that we don’t have to have come upon us it’s not fair,” he said.
The dealership is asking anyone with information to come forward. They really want the people responsible caught.