Thieves targeting specific car models in the Short North

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Drivers in the Short North area are warning others after multiple cars have been stolen.

The vehicles have something in common: they are all Toyota Prius models.

Within 48 hours, two Toyota Priuses were stolen, just blocks apart.

“I woke up the next morning to take the dog on a walk and saw that the car was gone,” victim Sam Stough said.

At first, Stough thought a friend was playing a prank on him, but then he realized his white 2005 Toyota Prius was stolen, so he called police.

“Ours was about 15 years old. The value of the car was mainly in the battery,” Stough said.

It’s because of that reason that he believes his car was targeted for its parts.

“I mean 100 percent, no one would want a 15-year-old Prius that has 200,000 miles on it,” Stough said.

The Columbus Police Department’s crime mapping tool shows that since the beginning of December, 11 vehicles were stolen from the Short North area.

“It is a little alarming,” Prius owner Mitchell Tomazic said.

At least four of the vehicles stolen were Toyota Prius models.

“The Prius is supposed to be the best cars for theft prevention,” victim Josh Hall said.

Police in California and Wisconsin are warning Prius drivers about a spike in thefts across the country, saying it’s because the price of the metals found in cars’ catalytic converters has recently skyrocketed.

Josh Hall also had his car stolen and thinks the suspect was after his car parts.

“I think it has a lot to do with the catalytic converter, like personal opinion, and they stopped making Prius V two years ago, so there are probably a lot of people globally who have that car who are looking for the hybrid battery,” Hall said.

As police try to track down a suspect, drivers want others to be on alert.

“If you have the ability to have something on your car, whether it be a LoJack or something that’s part of your car to keep track of where it is, that’s probably the first thing to do,” Stough said.

Columbus police said they had a problem with stolen converters in the past, but it is not an issue right now.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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