Just as any other Tuesday, Gina Gittens arrived to her noon class and parked her car in the P6 parking lot next to Woodrow Ave.
But unlike any other day when she finished her class and started her car to head home she heard a very loud, unfamiliar sound.
“I just finished class and I walked to my car and I started start and it sounded like a bunch of motorcycles or something – it just sounded like a big loud roar and I immediately shut off my car,” said Gittens, a business computer informations systems senior. “I thought maybe it was just the car and I tried it again and the same thing happened.”
Gittens turned to her father for advice and his prediction was her catalytic converter might have been stolen – he was right.
Gittens was not alone. As she waited for a tow truck, she saw another student, who also had a Toyota Sequoia, on the phone explaining the strange sound.
A total of 10 catalytic converter were stolen from Toyota vehicles on Tuesday, said Amy Luna from the Fresno State Police Department. Most of which occurred on the east side of campus, by Woodrow Ave.
“Our staff is currently reviewing security camera footage and we have increased the number of patrol checks in the area,” Luna said.
A catalytic converter converts harmful compounds in exhaust into harmless compounds by using a catalyst.
“In a typical passenger car, the catalytic converter, which resembles a muffler in shape, is between the engine and the muffler,” according to autoanything.com. “It’s on the underside of the car, usually underneath the passenger seat.”
When the tow truck driver arrived to help Gittens, he verified both cars had their catalytic converter were stolen.
“Its pretty unfortunate that it happened in broad daylight in front of the Business building,” Gittens. “I just don’t understand how that can happen when we have the security people looking out for parking passes, yet this kind of stuff happens – it’s just pretty unfortunate.”
When the catalytic converter is missing from the car, it cannot be driven because it can overheat damaging the vehicle more.
When Gittens took her car to be repaired, the estimated cost was $5,000 – which does not include the cost of the towing services.
“They said it was a clean cut,” Gittens said. “These people must have used a motorized saw to cut it out because it wasn’t jagged. He said it could have taken for two to three minutes to do it.”
Gina was told the model of vehicle she has the catalytic converter more exposed than newer cars making it easier to steal.