CARBONDALE TOWNSHIP -- Newswatch 16 has learned that several people have had catalytic converters taken from their vehicles while they were parked at the park and ride lot off the Casey Highway in the Carbondale area.
The converters are part of the car's exhaust system and many vehicles don't run if they are missing.
That's what happened to nine people when they showed up to the park and ride just off the Casey Highway near Carbondale after a day at work. They went to turn their vehicles on and they wouldn't start. Their catalytic converters had been cut out of their vehicles. One driver says replacing the part is going to cost him thousands and he's thinking twice about parking there again.
Just off the Route 6 Casey Highway Meredith Street exit near Carbondale the park and ride lot is packed with vehicles whose owners are gone for the work day.
On Tuesday, Daniel Moran of Carbondale was one of them. He returned in the late afternoon hoping to just go home and relax.
"It was a great day at Tobyhanna and then you come home and you have no exhaust. I was not too happy. And then other people came running up to me and said 'did it happen to you?'"
Moran says there was some panic in the lot when several people arrived back to their vehicles and found that the catalytic converters were cut out from underneath. Moran says in all, nine people fell victim and had to have their vehicles towed from the park and ride.
Police think this park and ride is an easy target because it's remote, quiet, and it has no security cameras. PennDOT owns the lot and police think there should at least be a sign that says "park at your own risk."
"I'm never parking here again, that's all I'm going to say. The cops don't really care. They kind of said they patrol here every once in a while but there's not really anything they can do."
The folks at Tony Domiano Chrylser Jeep and Dodge know all too well what it's like to have catalytic converters swiped. The part that hangs underneath your car was stolen off 20 of their vehicles last year.
Technician Nicholas Koroneos says catalytic converters could cost thousands to replace. Because they are expensive, a black market is developing for the part.
"Resell them for reuse that people damaged their vehicles or something happened to their exhaust, they can reuse them. But if it's cut off in a fashion that they are just cutting them off and selling them for scrap, then they are just cashing them."
Drivers say their converters were cut clean from their vehicles, likely with an all-purpose saw so it's possible the parts were stolen so they could be used again. We reached out to PennDOT to see if the state would consider putting up security cameras in the lot but we did not hear back. For now though, some drivers say they're thinking twice about carpooling to work this way.