TURLOCK, Calif. — An apparent catalytic converter theft was thwarted after the would-be thieves were chased off by a Turlock family wielding paintball guns.
The brazen attempt happened Oct. 4 just before 12:30 p.m. Turlock Police spokesperson Sgt. Mike Parmley said two men were trying to take the catalytic converter from the family's 2000 Ford Excursion.
Citing a report from the family, Parmley said it was the seventh attempt the family had dealt with.
Video of the incident appears to show two men going underneath the car and sawing into the catalytic converter before being momentarily startled by the car alarm. However, after the alarm turns off, they go back under the car to finish the job but they don't get much further before the family intervenes.
"A frustrated resident of the home is captured on home surveillance shooting the two male suspects, multiple times, with a paint ball gun," Parmley told ABC10.
The two suspected thieves are seen hustling out from under the car and chased by the family, who were wielding their paintball guns.
Police said the two suspects appear to have been hit with paintballs while they were running to a waiting red car, driven by an unknown third person.
The family, who didn't want to be shown on camera, told ABC10 they've experienced multiple theft attempts on their catalytic converter, but only three have caused damage to their car. This time, the family said the suspects nearly got the entire catalytic converter off the car before they were able to scare them off.
While the family was able to deter the apparent would-be thieves, police are still advising people to avoid taking matters into their own hands.
"Despite having the right to defend your own property, these types of actions could be very unsafe. Upon confronting individuals committing crimes, their actions are often unpredictable and could lead to intervening citizens becoming victims of an assault or more serious crime," Parmley said.
While the suspects were caught on camera and pelted with paintballs, they remain unidentified. Anyone with information on who they are can call Turlock Officer Greg Roton at (209) 668-6536.