VA BEACH -- Across Hampton Roads, cars are being stripped of their catalytic converters.
The thefts occur at night when dealerships are closed and authorities believe the parts are being re-sold. The items are being removed from domestic and import vehicles.
Checkered Flag dealer Tim Rayfield says his security guards caught thieves in the act at his dealership on Virginia Beach Boulevard.
"We were one of the fortunate ones," said Rayfield.
The thieves had taken out more than a dozen converters before the guards spotted them and called police. Rayfield says they ran away empty handed before cops arrived.
He says another dealership down the street wasn't so fortunate. It reported 20 catalytic converter thefts during the same week.
The Hampton Roads Automobile Dealers Association’s Board of Directors is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.
“Dealerships employ high-tech security such as after-hours surveillance cameras and on-site personnel, and we have some solid visual records,” said James Church, 2012 HRADA president.
To make a tip, contact the Hampton Roads Automoible Dealers Assn. at 757-631-6700. The information will be turned over to authorities to investigate.