By Ian Firstenberg
(SAN LEANDRO, Calif.) A suspected catalytic converter thief struck an officer with a vehicle while trying to flee in San Leandro early Thursday morning, according to authorities.
Officers responded around 5:50 a.m. to a reported catalytic converter theft in progress in the 110 block of Carpentier Street. Upon arrival, officers realized the suspect and vehicle were trapped inside the gated parking garage of a residential neighborhood.
Despite officers surrounding the area and laying down a spike strip to deter the suspect, they escaped in the vehicle. During the escape, the suspect hit an officer with the vehicle. According to police, the officer suffered minor injuries to his leg but did not require emergency services.
San Leandro officers pursued the vehicle into Oakland, eventually detaining the suspect. The name of the suspect has not yet been released.
Another catalytic converter theft was reported in San Leandro two hours later. Around 7:50 a.m, officers responded to a reported theft in the 300 block of Pershing Drive. Upon arrival, officers found the suspect vehicle but did not pursue because of a public safety concern, police said.
Catalytic converter thefts are up in San Leandro, according to authorities there. This comes as a growing trend of catalytic converter thefts spread throughout the Bay Area. The metals in the converters can often be more valuable than gold, one of the main metals taken from converters is titanium
In one gruesome incident, a 12-year-old boy was shot and wounded in Oakland after his father tried to stop thieves from stealing the catalytic converter from the Honda Accord parked out front of their Maxwell Park home.
The boy told The East Bay Times that he heard noises and told his dad who tried to scare the thieves off by throwing things at them. One of the suspects then fired multiple shots through the fence, hitting the boy in the foot.
"It probably takes these guys once they know what they're doing maybe 10 minutes to cut a catalytic converter out. And then they're gone," said German Lara, who owns Lafayette German Car Repair, told KTVU.
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