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Police say a man trying to steal a catalytic converter was crushed to death when the car fell on top of him

 Police in Anaheim, California, say that a suspected auto parts thief was killed when he was crushed by a car whose catalytic converter he was trying to steal.


The incident was reported to police about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Witness Sean Harp, who works at a business at the complex where the man died, described the grim scene to a news cameraman.

Harp said that a "pretty frantic" person went into the business where he worked to tell him that someone had been crushed under one of their vehicles outside. They called 911 and went to investigate.

"So I walked down there and I saw what appeared to be a caucasian gentleman with his torso underneath the vehicle with his feet and limbs, legs exposed, and it was evident that he was crushed," Harp said.

"You know in recent weeks we've had a rash of catalytic converters stolen out of the complex here," he added.

Harp said he saw a cordless Sawzall cutting device next to the man, and it appeared that the car fell because the small scissor jack holding it up was poorly secured.

Harp said what he saw was "really indicative of people going in underneath vehicles and just cutting parts off that they need and selling it."

Thieves target catalytic converters because they can resell precious metals from their components. Officials say that catalytic converter thefts skyrocketed by 400% in 2020 from the previous year.

Police said that a catalytic converter and a power saw were found in a vehicle that crashed after a police chase in nearby Garden Grove. The two drivers died in the crash and also caused the death of an innocent bystander.

Catalytic converter thieves target Toyota Priuses because they carry more of the valuable metals, and also midsize SUV vehicles because they are easier to get underneath, owing to their higher carriage. Some car owners thwart converter robberies by adding security devices to their cars.

Here's the local news video about the incident:

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