They were gone in 240 seconds.
Surveillance video from a Queens homeowner captured a team of catalytic-converter thieves in action, showing just how easy it is to carry out the now skyrocketing crime.
Michelle and Brian Kilcommons were asleep inside their Whitestone home around 2 a.m. Tuesday when strangers rolled up to their son Cayman’s 2003 Honda Accord parked on the street in front of their home.
Part of a car’s exhaust system, a catalytic converter breaks down some of the smog gases that would otherwise come out of the car’s tailpipe. The rhodium, palladium and platinum inside the converter can fetch anywhere from $300 to $1,400 at scrapyards.
Catalytic converter thefts have surged 272% citywide, the NYPD said, with 6,034 reported as of Aug. 28, compared to 1,619 in the same period last year.
Kilcommons’ video shows two of the crooks hopping out of a white, two-door sedan, hauling a jack from the trunk and placing it in front of the Honda.
The sedan drives off, and the two men jack up the Honda, pausing only once to hide as cars drove by.
The two thieves then employ a loud saw to cut out the converter, setting off the vehicle’s alarm. The white sedan returns, and the thieves plop their stolen goods into the trunk before jumping back in the car.
Total time elapsed for the crime: about four minutes.
The Kilcommons didn’t hear the commotion, but a neighbor alerted the couple that someone was messing with their son’s car, said Michele Kilcommons, who regretted not calling the police immediately.
“I called them the following night, but I was like, is it even worth it to file a report?” she told The Post. “In the recording, the faces weren’t clear and neither was the license plate. We could’ve gotten in the car and tried to follow them while calling the police, but it’s just so dangerous these days. You never know what’s going to happen.”
The northeast Queens neighborhood’s proximity to the Whitestone Bridge makes it a convenient target for crooks, she said.
“The Whitestone bridge is right there, so people come in and go right back over. It’s an easy getaway,” Kilcommons noted.
Earlier this month, Michele said Brian noticed two strangers on a moped riding up and down the block, slowly passing parked vehicles.
“They were very shadily looking at the cars,” she said. “I think they were scoping out which ones to hit.”
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