LARKSVILLE, Pa. -- The owners of a fireplace store in Luzerne County arrived Tuesday morning to find parts stolen from their work vehicle, and now after talking to police, they've found they're not the only victims.
A catalytic converter on a vehicle is an exhaust emission control device that reduces toxic gases and pollutants. Catalytic converters are on the exterior of vehicles and are made up of metals that are worth a lot of money, which often makes them a target for theft.
Security video shows a man in a white hat and plaid jacket crawling underneath a truck and removing two catalytic converters. That vehicle belongs to Woody's Fireplace in Larksville.
"We began our normal morning routine, going out and pulling the trucks out of the building, and that particular truck is brand new and doesn't have any tools or equipment in it yet, so we didn't have it parked in the building," said owner Mike Woods.
Woody's Fireplace on Route 11 has been a family-owned business for more than 40 years. The Woods family started their day to find the catalytic converters missing from this truck. Then they found a hole cut through the fence of their property.
"Our technician found that the catalytic converters were missing because it's pretty clear to see, that truck is pretty high off the ground. You can see it pretty clearly."
According to surveillance, it happened just before 4:30 a.m., but even though it was dark, the entire property is lit.
"We are going to add additional surveillance cameras and additional security measures to make sure that anyone that tries to do anything like this in the future is going to have a much more difficult time and be much more likely to be caught and prosecuted."
Larksville police say there have been similar thefts in nearby Kingston and Plymouth over the past few nights.
"Platinum or palladium in them is the metal that is the catalyst, which both of those are very expensive materials. Recycling companies will typically pay a decent amount of money for them and that's why they're stolen."
According to Larksville police, the target seems to be work trucks or other commercial vehicles that sit high off the ground, so access to the catalytic converter is easier. Police say they do believe the thefts are related. If you have any information about the crimes, contact Larksville police.