Thefts of car parts are up this year, according to the Henderson Police Department, and the agency says it’s working to pinpoint at-risk neighborhoods.
Henderson police declined to provide numbers related to thefts; Lt. John Plunkett cited a new reporting method being used this year that is more detailed than the previous system.
Weekly crime reports from the department show that in June a theft of motor vehicle parts was reported at least 72 times, compared with 73 times in June 2020. The most recent figures included 16 reports in a single night at a newer community of East Lake Mead Parkway.
“It actually takes an individual who’s committing these offenses about three seconds really to slide up underneath the car and saw off a catalytic converter and they’re out,” police Chief Thedrick Andres said in a livestream last month warning residents about the issue. “It’s almost impossible for us to have an officer in every neighborhood that can prevent that.”
Data also showed 158 car break-ins, or thefts from a motor vehicle, in June. The same crime data was not available for 2020.
Andres said the car-related crimes extends across Southern Nevada and Southern California. Henderson police have started a task force that Andres said will examine the crime data for locations police can patrol more frequently.
Andres said purse thefts are also on the rise, and he urged residents to take valuables out of their vehicles, or to hide and lock them inside.
Neighborhood social networking apps in Henderson show dozens of posts with home footage of suspicious lurkers, reports of multiple cars targeted in the same apartment complex and warnings to keep cars locked after an unlocked car was ransacked.
Henderson resident Kimberly Coyle said her husband works overnight at a warehouse and that when he came out to his car at 2 a.m. May 18, he heard the noise indicative of a catalytic converter being cut off.
She said security officers on the property later told her husband that they saw two men drive around the parking lot before one went under his car, and then the pair drove off.
A mechanic initially thought the catalytic converter was sawed off, Coyle said, but the couple has been told the exhaust pipe was removed.
Six weeks later, the car isn’t fixed, and it will cost Coyle and her husband nearly $1,500 to fix it. And they’ve already been paying friends to drive them around since the damage was done.
“All in all it’s been time consuming, and no one has told us if they caught the license plate of the men on camera or if they were caught,” she wrote in a message to the Review-Journal. “The company suggests not to park in a certain area, but if people can come in regardless what does it matter where they park? They’re still a target.”