Car thefts on dealer lots drive up car prices

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Actions by thieves can drive up the cost for new cars. Car dealerships in the Glass City have been victims of thieves snagging catalytic converters from their lots. One dealership said it is driving down the bottom line and customers are suffering.

"They're not afraid of nothing. They're not even afraid to hurt themselves, which is shame on 'em. They're jumping over the barbed wire, taking what they want, and walking right out," said Mike Awada, manager of First Step Auto Finance.

Thieves have hit First Step Auto Finance on the corner of Dorr and Secor in west Toledo twice in the past two weeks. They hopped over barbed wire and raided nine of their cars for catalytic  converters.

"Let's put it this way, every catalytic converter is going to cost us between $250-$500 to replace on each car. And that actually costs us money, and it's going to cost the consumer effect also, because that price is going to go up on the car. It's not fair for the consumer, and it's not fair for us to pay for it," said Awada.

Not only are the thefts driving the bottom line down for business and driving up the purchase price for the customer, it is also forcing business owners to spend more money to keep what is on their lot.

"It costs us more money to put in more cameras, more securities around our lots, more lighting. We're probably going to put a person on the lot to watch the lot over night, so that way we can protect our cars on the lots, so that way it won't happen anymore," said Awada.

Awada said he knows that someone has information on the thefts and speaking up can stop the thieves. The business is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the people responsible.

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