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Crime watch: Odd thefts hit SCV

Catalytic converters, growth hormones, trees, diesel fuel, fruit all reported missing

Posted: July 28, 2008 1:43 a.m.
Updated: September 28, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Thieves targeting Santa Clarita Valley are stealing everything from diesel sucked out of local cars, trees torn from front lawns, growth hormones, car parts and even the fruit off a woman’s backyard tree, The Signal has learned.

Topping the list of stolen items, however, are catalytic converters.

Investigators with the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station are following up on more than a dozen theft-related incidents that happened last week, including three separate cases in which the catalytic converters were stripped from the underside of parked vehicles.

Catalytic converters are  pollution control devices designed to reduce emissions such as oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide. Catalytic converters have been required equipment on all new motor vehicles sold in California since 1979.

On July 21, sometime between 6 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. the next day, someone stole a catalytic converter worth about $1,000 from a silver 2002 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck on Shawna Place in Saugus.

Two days later, on Wednesday, sometime in the space of five days, someone stole the catalytic converter from a white 2000 Toyota Tundra which was parked behind on a business on Avenue Tibbets in Valencia.

The car part was valued at about $500.

The very next day, on Thursday, someone stole “a catalytic converter cut from the exhaust of a  Toyota” 2007 Sequoia, according to the notes of responding deputies who filed the report.

A police spokesman asked for insight into why people were stealing catalytic converters told The Signal he was instructed not to comment, but to merely give out the facts.

Also on someone’s wish list were specific items such as the backseats to cars.

On two separate occasions, thieves removed the back seats of cars in Santa Clarita Valley last week.

On Thursday, sometime between 7:30 p.m. the night before and just after noon, thieves removed the gray bucket seats, valued at around $1,400 from the backseat of a Cadillac parked on Snapdragon Place.

During the same time period, thieves also stole rear seats described as a gray cloth and valued at about $1,000 from a car on Solamint Road in Canyon Country.

Although many of last week’s thefts - now being investigated - included many of the usually targeted items such as IPods, computers, cameras, cash and stereo equipment from cars, there were some unusual items.

Sheriff’s deputies investigating an attempted Grand Theft are trying to find the people who tried to steal a 18-foot wood chipper valued at about $20,000.

The thieves tried to remove the “250 XP Brush Bandit” off of an eight-foot raised platform only to end up damaging it, according the deputy’s report.

Perhaps most telling of tough economic times are the few cases on the police blotter that involve thefts of food and fuel.

A witness told sheriff’s investigators that they saw a man drive a white pickup truck near a second vehicle and the man had a long hose and what appeared to be a large tank in the bed of the pickup, according to the sheriff’s report.

The man is suspected of stealing about $250 worth of diesel fuel from an address on Constellation Road in Valencia.

In reporting theft of food, deputies this week are following up on a report filed by a 50-year-old Saugus woman who told them someone had stolen 250 nectarines off a tree in her backyard on Gina Court.
She put the value of the theft at $500 and points to an unlocked gate as having allowed thieves easy access.

In Valencia, thieves just took the whole tree.

Overnight sometime prior to Monday morning a week ago, thieves unscrewed a lamp made of iron and glass from the front lawn of a home on West Island Road.  They also stole an entire camphor tree in its box from the same front yard.  Total amount reported stolen was $590 (including $440 for the tree).

In the one robbery reported by sheriff’s deputies, two young men entered a store on Pico Canyon Road in Stevenson Ranch and, while one man distracted a clerk, the other ran from the store with stolen goods.

Deputies, in their report, describe the stolen merchandize as four containers of “testosterone booster” which promotes muscle growth, worth an estimated $500, and five other “boosts” worth an additional $400.

Anyone with any information about any of these reported crimes is asked to call the sheriff’s station at 255-1121.


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