A man was killed by a driver after attempting to steal the vehicle’s catalytic converter.
Authorities say a woman was reportedly asleep in a lifted 4×4 Ford Excursion, which was in the parking lot of a Target in Palmdale, California.
A car containing four suspects, two men and two women, reportedly pulled up to the truck as one of the men crawled under the car in an attempt to saw off the vehicle’s catalytic converter.
The woman was awakened by “noises” coming from outside the vehicle and reversed the truck, subsequently running the thief over, ABC 7 reported.
The driver claimed they were unaware the suspect was ran over, according to AV News Crew.
Crook hits wrong car: A suspected SoCal catalytic converter thief is run over by his would-be victim. Deadly outcome now on ABC7 https://t.co/Uq2SE11DiB
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) February 15, 2023
Deputies from Palmdale’s Sheriff Station received a 911 call from the would-be-victim at approximately 5:56 p.m. regarding grand theft to a vehicle. The Palmdale Sheriff’s Station received a second phone call from a nearby business placed by two of the three suspects alleging assault with a deadly vehicle, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office Lieutenant Hugo Reynaga.
Upon arrival, deputies found an adult male suspect laying in the parking lot space reportedly suffering from blunt force trauma with the truck parked within the stall. The woman reportedly remained in the vehicle and placed her 911 call following the incident.
One of the female suspects reportedly stayed with the man who attempted to saw off the vehicle’s catalytic converter until police and the fire department arrived on scene.
The suspects who placed the call, one male and one female, were found inside a nearby Best Buy in the same shopping center.
The man who was run over by the vehicle was treated at the scene by fire department personnel and transported Antelope Valley Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
“It seems like the victim was pulling her vehicle out of the way of … somebody committing a theft to undercarriage of the car,” Reynaga said, noting catalytic converter theft was a common occurrence in the area.
The three other suspects were reportedly detained at Palmdale’s Sheriff’s Station following the incident.
The Palmdale Sheriff’s Station has previously warned residents of catalytic converter theft and has hosted free catalytic converter etching to assist in identifying stolen material.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals and can be cut from a battery-powered saw in a short amount of time.
Targeted vehicle models in the area include Toyota Prius, RAV4, and Camry, Honda Element and CR-V, along with other SUVs.
The Palmdale Sheriff Station recommends residents garage their vehicles or park in a well-lit area, noting motion detecting lights or continuous lights may deter theft. The Sheriff Station also recommends welding catalytic converter bolts shut.
Residents are urged to report all instances of power tools used in the middle of the night.
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