Catalytic converters were removed from two vehicles parked on campus between April 8 and April 10, according to an AlertSU sent to the Stanford community on Friday night. No suspects have been identified.
According to the alert, nine on-campus vehicles have had their catalytic converters stolen since March 13, when the vast majority of undergraduates left campus due to coronavirus concerns. Both vehicles burglarized in the most recent incidents were Toyota Priuses, common targets for such thefts as the converters sustain less wear from a hybrid engine. The converters, devices that reduce toxic emissions, are stolen for the expensive metals they contain and can cost up to $5,000 to replace.
“In response to the reduced population on campus, we have increased our security personnel who are tasked with patrolling all areas of campus which includes parking lots and parking structures at all hours,” Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) spokesperson Bill Larson told The Daily.
The alert cautioned campus residents to report any suspicious activity. In particular, people are encouraged to report individuals loitering around vehicles, vehicles raised up on car jacks and activated car alarms.
SUDPS is also in the process of modifying its alert system to allow off-campus students to opt out of some notifications. The updated system would send some alerts only to individuals “who are believed to be living on campus and who would be in a position to take steps to prevent being the victim of crimes on campus.”