Palmdale, CA – A would-be thief died on Tuesday evening after a woman accidentally ran over him as he was trying to cut the catalytic converter off of her parked vehicle, according to police.
The incident occurred in a store parking lot located in the 39000-bock of 10th Street West shortly before 5:56 p.m. on Feb. 14, CBS News reported.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and spotted a “lifted” 4×4 Ford Excursion that was partially backed out of a parking spot, according to investigators.
A man’s body was lying beneath the vehicle, CBS News reported.
The female driver told the deputies she was asleep inside her parked SUV when she heard a sawing noise coming from underneath her vehicle.
“The victim woke up from the sound, turned the car on, put the vehicle in reverse, and felt a bump like she ran something over,” investigators said, according to the Associated Press. “She stopped immediately, leaving the suspect on the ground after running him over.”
She immediately called 911 for help.
Deputies said the suspect found under her vehicle had come to the parking lot in a smaller car occupied by two women and a man, CBS News reported.
The other three suspects were detained and their identities were not immediately released, according to the Associated Press.
The suspect was rushed to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, WLS reported.
His identity was also not immediately released.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) said owners of SUVs and trucks – particularly “lifted ones” – need to be especially cautious of catalytic converter theft because it is easier for criminals to crawl underneath such vehicles, WHDH reported.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of catalytic converter thefts has jumped up more than 1,200 percent in recent years, CBS News reported.