Thefts in parking lots at IVC

Ashley Reyes

The theft of catalytic converters has Irvine Valley College campus security and faculty on edge. There have so far been 2 incidents in 2012 of catalytic converters being stolen. Campus security urges students to be aware of what may put them at risk.
Professor Seth Hochwald of IVC has been one victim of this type of theft. His catalytic converter, oxygen sensor, and a substantial amount of exhaust system piping were stolen from his Honda Accord on Dec. 5 sometime between 7:15 AM and 3 PM in IVC parking lot 10.
“…It is important to be vigilant at all times for our safety and property as well as that of our fellow students and faculty.  I strongly recommend that if anyone sees anything suspicious to report it immediately to campus police.” Hochwald said.
Hochwald’s main concern is that this doesn’t happen to anyone again. He urges students to be aware of their surroundings and call campus police if they see any suspicious behavior. Hochwald would like the addition of security cameras to the school parking lots to ensure student safety as well as to prevent property theft.
There have also been incidents of theft on the Saddleback campus parking lot. Saddleback student, Mireya Naranjo, reported her purse being stolen from the inside of her car. The incident occurred during nighttime outside of the BGS parking lot.
Naranjo reported the incident to campus security since she had her credit cards inside her wallet, which were also stolen. Naranjo believes the suspects were able to get inside her car through a small crack in the window.
“In 2012, to the best of my knowledge there has been 2 events (catalytic converters being stolen) of this happening, one occurred in September and another December 5,” Police Sergeant of the Office of Campus Safety and Security, David Young said.
Young added that it has become a major problem in Southern California, Irvine, and also Ventura County, although he wouldn’t classify this as a major problem to the Irvine Valley campus. One reason these parts are being stolen is because they contain precious metals that are usually sold off as scrap metal value.
The incidents in outside areas usually occur at night, although the two incidents that were reported on campus were in broad daylight on a Monday through Friday.  Vehicles that tend to be targeted are those that rest high off the ground, such as SUV’s and Toyota trucks. Students should be aware whether their vehicle fits the profile because they are more at risk.
“Be on alert for people who seem like they don’t belong, although this can be hard on a college campus. If you see anyone under a car, please call campus security,” Young said.