Thieves steal thousands of dollars in auto parts from Spokane dealerships

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SPOKANE, Wash. – In the past three months, thieves have stolen at least $ 30,000 worth of auto parts from an RV dealership in Spokane. They only take a specific part.

Dan Arrota, owner of several car dealerships in Spokane, told 4 News Now that thieves were taking his catalytic converters. They are intended for your car’s exhaust system. It has happened before, but nothing like what is happening now.

“It happens three to five times a week,” said Chris Famalaro, sales manager for Click It RV. “It’s probably happening earlier, probably from midnight to 3 p.m.”

The room is under your car, so the only way to tell if it’s gone is to turn on the car or the motorhome.

“Once the catalytic converters are taken out, they’re very loud, so once you start them it’s instant,” Famalaro explained. “I guess there is platinum in them. There are all kinds of things or reasons they get caught.

Famalaro said it didn’t take long to steal them. He believes thieves are crawling under the vehicles and using a chainsaw to cut them. It takes about five minutes to do.

Since it started, Famalaro said his store has spent more than $ 30,000 on parts and labor. Converters are not only removed from new RVs, but some are owned by people who store their RVs in the field.

“When we have someone who comes here and stores a unit and their catalytic converter is taken, you unfortunately know that this is a cost that we have to bear and that it is a cost that the victim has to bear,” he said. he explained.

The store had to buy security cameras and even hire a night watchman.

“This is happening not only in our store here, but also in all of our car dealerships,” he said.

The Arrotta brothers own five concessions in Spokane. Arrotta’s Automax was hit by thieves, and an employee told 4 News Now that the dealership had around 25 catalytic converters stolen.

Police reports have been filed and Spokane Police are investigating the situation. Famalaro said he wanted more than the thieves held accountable.

“Besides the thieves who take them, you know, the people who buy them should be just as guilty, because somebody here is buying them,” he explained.

It is not known if someone is buying them or if they are taken to a junkyard. Either way, Famalaro said the solution is in knowing who is buying them and how they vet those customers.

“With the pandemic going on and all this madness, it’s a horrible time to rob people,” he said.

If you have any information, you are welcome to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.


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