HOUSTON — Catalytic converter thieves struck again, this time at the METRO Park & Ride on the southeast side of Houston. It happened at the Fuqua location on Monday.
The 15 victims found out when the bus dropped them off after work, according to the METRO Police Department.
Mike Cervantes said he just got his new truck about two weeks ago and hasn't even made a payment on it. Now, he said it’ll be months before he can drive his truck again.
"I looked at the car parked next to me and her car was making the same noise. Both of us knew something was wrong," Cervantes said.
He said he hopped out of his truck and looked underneath.
"I got down here and I could see where it was cut ... It’s a pretty clean-cut. They have good tools," Cervantes said.
He said he parks at the Park & Ride every day and takes the METRO downtown to shorten his commute. He and the other victims were caught off-guard when they got to their vehicles on Monday.
"And everyone ... you can hear throughout the parking lot ... the mufflers going and everyone just kind of reacting, 'Oh, my God.' Getting out of the car, looking at the vehicles, seeing the damage," Cervantes said.
METRO Police Chief Vera Bumpers said they're investigating.
"It has been an issue just like it has across the city and across the U.S.," Bumpers said.
Cervantes said he parked next to a camera hoping it would help, but it obviously didn't.
"We do random searches of the cameras. Some are randomly looking at all the lots paying attention. But we know that when you are looking at one lot something could be happening at another lot," Bumpers said.
Bumpers said they’re looking at other strategies and will be increasing patrols in the lots. In the meantime, Cervantes is upset he’s stuck with a brand new truck he can't even drive.
"It's really frustrating because now you have to deal with the hassle of getting it repaired. There is a huge backlog for the converters. It's two to three months," Cervantes said.
Cervantes filed a police report but said he doesn’t feel safe parking at that Park & Ride anymore. Instead, he will drive his car downtown to work. Fortunately, he said his insurance will cover the cost he will just have to pay a deductible.
METRO police investigators are asking people to report anything suspicious.