Catalytic converter thieves target auto dealership in Cerritos

Video captured the moment catalytic converter thieves threw car parts at a car dealership security guard in Cerritos.  

The incident happened at around 6 a.m. on Sunday at the Cerritos Mitsubishi dealer and service center located at 10944 South Street in Cerritos.  

The night guard, Jaero Barba, spotted the suspects, and after calling police, he drove around the lot in his car, honking his horn to distract them, he told KTLA. That’s when the men can be seen getting aggressive.  

Video shows the suspects throwing side mirrors they had broken off customer vehicles that were at the guard’s car. Then, one of the suspects threw a catalytic converter at his car and shattered the window.  

The dealership’s service director, Rigo LaFontaine, said the thefts are an ongoing problem.

“This year alone we’ve been hit three, maybe four times and last year, I want to say at least another four times,” he tells KTLA.  

LaFontaine said the thieves are quick too, able to steal four catalytic converters in a matter of minutes.  

“It’s an ongoing issue,” he said. “That’s the only reason we brought a guard. It’s not cheap and every catalytic converter is about $2,700. We can’t keep losing catalytic converters.”  

  • Catalytic converter thieves Cerritos

The service director said it’s cheaper for the lot to pay the expense of replacing the stolen parts out of its own pocket rather than go through the process with the insurance company.  

“We’ve seen police report after police report. Everybody wears a mask like it’s a law is really what it comes down to,” LaFontaine said of the thieves. “Every time we look, yup, it’s the guy with the black mask.”  

Fortunately, Barba was not injured during the incident. Anyone who might recognize the suspects is urged to contact law enforcement.  

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