Police searching for thieves who stole $30,000 in car parts

Police searching for thieves who stole $30,000 in car parts

BERN TWP., Pa. - Police in Bern Township are looking for the thieves who stole nearly $30,000 in car parts from a Volkswagen dealership's sales lot.

"It's surprising that somebody could do that… we're on a main drag, it's not like there's anywhere to hide," said Bruce Hendrixson, general manager at Volkswagen Reading off of Route 183.

According to police, thieves stole catalytic converters from nine new clean diesel model vehicles sometime afterhours between Tuesday, May 20 and Wednesday, May 21.

Hendrixson said each car was jacked up, and the converters were cut from underneath. He said the thieves attempted to steal converters on three other vehicles, including a customer's.

"They had to have a truck to put these things in… [it's] pretty brazen," said Hendrixson. "Seems to me they had to be out there for a long time and nobody noticed it, unfortunately."

Police have no suspects, but believe at least two thieves are involved.

"[We] sent some stuff off to the lab… lifted some partial prints and sent some items that were left behind," said Detective Sergeant Michael Hoffert.

Hoffert suspects the thieves sold the scrap metals, which include platinum and iridium, somewhere outside of the region. He said each catalytic converter is valued at about $2,510.

According to Hendrixson, the total loss for replacement and parts will cost about $30,000, a cut to finances and the dealership's inventory.

"Our inventory right now is pretty short…sales are pretty brisk, so it did take some of the inventory," he said.

Following the theft, Hendrixson is upping security, and adding cameras to the lot.

"Some bad stuff's happening out here," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913. Anyone with a tip that leads to an arrest could receive a reward of up to $5,000.

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