Thief stealing a catalytic converter pulls a gun on a Palo Alto man

A thief who was part of a duo stealing a Toyota Prius’ catalytic converter today pulled a gun on the car’s owner, police said.

The car owner, a Palo Alto man in his 70s, was not injured and both thieves are at large.

At 3:57 a.m., police received a call from a resident about the armed robberey in the 1500 block of Louisa Court, a short street off of Newell Road in the Crescent Park neighborhood. Officers responded immediately, but the thieves had fled in a vehicle.

A resident in her 30s had heard a vehicle pull up in front of her home, and then heard a sawing noise. She alerted her father, a man in his 70s. The father looked outside, figured the men were attempting to steal the catalytic converter from their 2009 Toyota Prius, and went outside to interrupt the theft.

When he confronted the thieves, one of them pointed a silver handgun at him and threatened multiple times to shoot him. The other suspect, who was under the car, continued to saw off the catalytic converter. The victim yelled to his daughter to call the police, and then went back inside.

The two suspects fled in a black four-door sedan. The victim described both suspects as muscular men of unknown race and age, about 5 feet 8 inches tall. The victim said they were wearing masks.

Police say they are actively investigating this case and looking for any surveillance videos.

Catalytic converter theft is a common crime throughout California. The state legislature recently enacted laws that went into effect this year that are designed to reduce or eliminate the black market that is the root cause of catalytic converter theft (the reselling of stolen catalytic converters, which contain metal that can fetch a high price).

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.