LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It's a part many may not realize is on their car until it's gone, but recently two Lexington businesses found more than a dozen catalytic converters cut from their cars.
"I walked back and I saw all of these cars jacked up and I'm going I know we didn't leave them that way," recalled Curt Richards, who runs Motorsports repair shop on West High.
Richards says 14 cars in all were damaged from the thefts. The vehicles were all parked in a gated lot that Richard's repair shop shares with two other businesses, including the other victim: the neighboring Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
"They cut probably 3x4 (foot) sized hole in our fence. They stole the jacks out of the vans that were back there and they used the jacks to jack up the cars. Then they crawled underneath there with a "Sawzall" and just go to town," described Richards, adding, "There's probably a crew of three, four, or five guys to do something like that. It took a while to do 14 vehicles."
The older catalytic converters have the precious metal platinum inside of them. The companies say the thieves did thousands of dollars worth of damage and only for a small amount in resale, estimated Richards.
"Desperate people do desperate things."
Richards says he and others found broken saw blades and other "tools of the trade."
What the companies learned later is that the crooks hit the complex on two different nights over the weekend. The first time they took several car batteries.
"They stole several car batteries. Just snip the cables and yank them right out of there."
The next night is when Richards says the bad guys came back for the catalytic converters.
Richards says his repair shop is going to replace the stolen parts, and he says his customers are understanding about what happened. Still his business, and the others around, are looking to spice up their security to prevent this from happening again.
Police say they have not made any arrests in this case.
Enterprise Rent-a-Car declined to comment.