Shooter fires gun at witness of catalytic converter theft attempt

Berkeley has had about 50 confirmed gunfire reports this year.

Shooter fires gun at witness of catalytic converter theft attempt
Police responded to South Berkeley on Thursday after someone fired a gun at a witness who interrupted a catalytic converter theft. Google Maps

Would-be thieves fired a gun at a resident in South Berkeley who interrupted a catalytic converter theft Thursday morning, authorities report.

No one was wounded, but someone fired the gun toward the home of a local resident who shouted when they saw a thief at work, Berkeley police said.

Berkeley has had about 50 shootings this year, according to police. In the past three months alone, there have been about 300 catalytic converter thefts around the city.

Officers responded just before 7:15 a.m. Thursday to the 3200 block of King Street, near Harmon Street, where the gunfire was reported.

Someone in a white sedan had been trying to steal a catalytic converter from a parked vehicle when a neighbor interrupted them, Berkeley police said.

When the witness yelled at the person trying to steal the catalytic converter, someone else, in a black sedan nearby, fired a gun in the direction of the witness's house.

The thieves then left the area, BPD said.

Berkeley police advise "not to intervene"

"We encourage residents to immediately call BPD if they witness a catalytic converter theft," Berkeley police said in a post on Instagram last week. "Recently in the Bay Area, we’ve seen an uptick in gun violence and suspects being armed in the process of committing these crimes. In an effort to keep the community safe we encourage residents not to intervene, be a good witness and call BPD."

According to Carfax, a thief can get up to $300 for a catalytic converter.

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Berkeley has had several reports of gunfire during catalytic converter thefts this year: including once on Fourth Street in July and, more recently, on Oak Street at the beginning of October.

Also this month, a man was shot and killed in Oakland during a catalytic converter theft there, according to reports on SFGate and other Bay Area news outlets.

BPD asks anyone with information about Thursday's theft attempt to call the Property Crimes Unit at 510-981-5737.