A string of catalytic converter thefts have been reported in the Sleaford area over the weekend, after thieves first targeted cars in the Stamford and Market Deeping area on Thursday night.
Police are appealing for witnesses and camera footage of anything suspicious after three incidents in the Holdingham area of town where residents were threatened by the thieves after stumbling upon them in the act of jacking up and removing the parts from vehicles.
A catalytic converter reduces harmful pollutants from exhaust gases, but they contain precious metals that can be sold on the black market, explain Sleaford Police.
Samantha Harley-Pesce of Furlong Way is furious after discovering her 24-year-old daughter Jasmine’s Toyota Prius had fallen victim to the thieves - possibly around 9pm on Saturday.
Jasmine is severely autistic, with other mental health issues and scoliosis. She has a Motability car to enable her carers to take her out and it was only when they arrived on Monday and tried to move the vehicle that they realised it had been tampered with.
Samantha said: “I’d really like the thieves to come back as I’ll be waiting to give them my gratitude. I’m not scared of them at all and I will go outside. They needn’t bother to threaten me. I’ve had to fight for my daughter for 24 years and I’m feeling very frustrated. I think they are utter scum.”
She said: “We pay for it every week and will probably have to pay something towards the insurance costs to have it fixed and we will probably lose our £400 deposit because of the effect on the insurance.
“In the meantime my daughter has no car and cannot go out. Her carers take her out to keep her calm. They drive her to the seaside or the woods for walks. It is her lifeline to the community.
“It is very stressful and she doesn’t understand. Without it she cannot go far as she can walk a little but needs a wheelchair.”
Samantha heard a sound of drilling at around 9pm on Saturday and she and her 16 year old son both looked out of their windows but could not see anything. “If I had known I would have screamed and punched them,“ she said bitterly. “I have spent my whole life fighting for my daughter. I have lived in the USA and had gun shots outside my house and down the street. I’m not afraid, I would give them what they deserve.”
A few days before she recalls a suspicious man in a small white van, going around the street asking neighbours about their cars while looking to collect scrap.
Lincolnshire Police say one of the thefts took place in North Parade in Sleaford at around 9.30pm on Saturday. Four men wearing ski masks targeted a Toyota Auris, and were challenged by a passer-by.
A spokesman added: “We received a further call at around 9.40pm that two men were seen around another Toyota Auris in Covel Road, Sleaford, and that they had made threats to the occupants of the house. The two men were reported to have left in a black hatchback style vehicle heading towards Stokes Drive which leads to Lincoln Road.
“This type of incident is low in those areas. We have made catalytic convert thefts our community safety message of the week and we are conducting enquiries to identify the people responsible.
“If anyone was in the area at the time of any of the offences, or has CCTV, dashcam, or doorbell footage which might help our enquiries, please get in touch with police via 101.”