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Catalytic Converter Thefts In LIRR Parking Lots

Platinum worth $1,400-plus

 Following a series catalytic converter burglaries at several Nassau County LIRR stations, car thieves may be targeting not only what’s inside your car but also what’s underneath it. 

On Jan. 11, the catalytic converter was stolen from a 2005 Toyota Sequoia that was parked at the Long Island Rail Road Massapequa Train Station, the fourth instance at the station since June and the second over a three-day interval. 

According to Westbury Village Mayor Peter Cavallaro, a similar incident was reported at the Westbury LIRR station a few weeks ago. 

“We had a conversation with our precinct. You can just crawl underneath the rear of the car and wrench it off. It’s not like you have to open up the hood or anything like that,” said Cavallaro. 

These thefts continue an unsettling pattern in the local area. Five cars that were parked at the Wantagh station between July and December had the catalytic converters stolen, as did a Hyundai Sonata that was parked at the LIRR station in Seaford recently.

Sgt. Veverka, of the Seventh Precinct, explained that these incidents in Massapequa have occurred during the day. The law enforcement official stated that thieves are targeting catalytic converters because they are quite valuable.

“These are worth thousands of dollars in the scrap yards, “ Sgt. Veverka commented.

According to a Seventh Precinct flyer, catalytic converters are stolen and the platinum is extracted, refined and then sold for over $1,400 per ounce. The most popular targets are late 1900s and early 2000 Toyota SUVs. The four vehicles targeted in Massapequa were a 2002 Toyota Sequoia, a 2005 Toyota Sequoia, a 2007 Toyota Sequoia and a 2007 Suburban. 

After Toyota, other vehicles targeted are Hyundais, Nissans and Kias. Of the nine catalytic converter thefts in Seaford, Wantagh and Massapequa, six involved Toyotas, three have been Hyundais and one was a Mitsubishi. SUVs are popular targets because of their accessibility to the undercarriage. 

While Toyotas are the most frequent target, the police warn that any vehicle built after 1975 is a potential target and that there is an overall upward trend in these types of thefts across Nassau County.

Veverka also added that there has been an increase in the larceny of items left in automobiles. However, unlike the catalytic converter thefts, which vehicle owners can do little to deter, the sergeant explained that this type of crime can be prevented with just a little bit of effort from vehicle owners.

 “What’s senseless about this, it’s so easily combated at your level,” Veverka told the audience. “Ninety-nine percent of the cars where stuff is taken are from cars that are unlocked. One percent is broken windows. These are people walking up and down the street trying door handles. They’ll take anything from expensive electronics to small change.”

On anther note, the sergeant also warned that there has been an increase in the attempt of phone scams throughout Nassau County. He explained that these are instances in which a caller tries to con an unsuspecting target into sending money. For example, he explained that an unsuspecting individual might get a phone call saying that a relative is drunk and has just been in an accident. The scammer would continue that the caller would forget about the incident and not have the relative prosecuted, if he or she is sent money.  

 “We’re averaging about 10 of these a month,” he stated.

Regarding home invasions, Veverka urged residents to remain vigilant and call 911 if they see anything suspicious. 

“Our biggest help is you – our eyes and ears,” he told those in attendance. “Call 911.”


Westbury High School students are teaching younger children from Park Avenue Elementary School valuable life lessons about money and business skills through the High School Heroes program.


In this program, high school students that are taking Renate Johnson’s Junior Achievement class will go into first grade classrooms to teach 45-minute lessons.


“It is a program that gives high school and younger students confidence and teaches them about business and financial literacy,” said Johnson.

The Westbury Historical Society will host Dr. Natalie Naylor, professor emerita at Hofstra University and author of Women in Long Island’s Past: Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives at their next meeting on March 9. 


Naylor’s presentation will focus on the place of women in Long Island’s history, including several prominent women from Westbury’s past.  


Albertson resident and Kellenberg sophomore Gabby Schreib qualified for the Millrose Games in New York City. Schreib qualified as a member of the Sprint Medley Relay along with Danielle Correia, Bridget McNierney, and Jazmine Fray. 


The Kellenberg relay’s close second place finish in January’s Millrose Trials has moved them closer to defending the title they won in the same relay at last year’s Millrose Games. Schreib and her teammates time is currently second in the United States for girls track and field performances.

Congratulations to Westbury athletes Michael Esposito, Eileen Harris, Brett Harris, and Michael Going, each of whom won awards in Race # 1 of the Jonas Chiropractic Run Nassau Series co-hosted by Nassau County and the Greater Long Island Running Club.


Michael Esposito, age 15, took home the second place award in the 15-19 age group with a time of 23 minutes, 6 seconds.  Eileen Harris, age 42, earned the first place award in the women’s 40-44 age group.  She completed the race with her 45 year old husband, Brett Harris, who was the third place award winner in the men’s 45-49 age group.  Michael Going, age 41, scored third place honors in the 40-44 age group with a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds.


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