Spike in thefts of car, catalytic converters forcing dealerships to conceal carry

The amount of cars and catalytic converters stolen are being reported in staggering numbers along Pacific Highway. 

Some dealerships in the area say it's up to them to protect themselves and their establishments. 

They say while you wouldn’t know it about 90% of employees are now armed. 

As daylight savings begins dealerships like Maxx Autos Plus are seeing a troubling trend, a spike in crime. 

Sales manager, Jim Steele says, a car was stolen off their lot despite having surveillance cameras and a well lit parking lot. 

"They came in, scoped out the car cut the locks on the gates they ended up busting out the window, jumping in the car and take it off," Steele said. 

The next morning employees came in to find glass shattered on the ground and the car gone. 

He says it’s just part of bigger issue plaguing dealerships. 

"We have stolen cars, catalytic converters, even radios," Steele said. 

The sales manager says one of their cars targeted three times, they’ve replaced the catalytic converter three times – otherwise, legally the car can’t be sold. 

The crime on this car costing them at least $6,000 to fix it. 

7 Puyallup car dealerships offering free catalytic converter etchings to deter thieves

Seven car dealerships in Puyallup are offering a free event to engrave catalytic converters in an effort to curb the rash of thefts seen across Puget Sound and the country. 

He’s filed anywhere between six to 10 police reports himself for stolen cars, break-ins, catalytic converters in the last year. 

Company wide he says the number is far greater. 

While he didn’t feel comfortable disclosing if and how many of his team are armed – he says they’re doing their part working with police. 

"Police are so inundated with these kinds of things that the majority of time, by the time that we can get someone down here, we're the ones that end up, we kind of started looking and try to kind of track our own cars down," Steele said. 

He says they’ve found some of their stolen cars in Seattle, Auburn, Fife even as far as Easter Washington but it’s just a shell, the car chopped up and sold in parts. 

He says like many other business owners they’re frustrated not knowing when thieves will hit again. 

"It's a helpless feeling," Steele said. 

FOX 13 reached out to Pierce County who said they’re not aware of these incidents. 

Man arrested in connection with 26 catalytic converter thefts

Deputies are investigating after a man was arrested in connection with more than two dozen catalytic thefts. 

The Puget Sound Task Force says they’re aware of the spike and say it’s not just along Pacific Highway but everywhere. 

The dealerships are now asking the community for help. 

If you see something suspicious they want you to say something and report it. 

Steele says it takes a village to decrease crime, their hope is to do it as a community.