North Carolina police said that a man attempting to steal a catalytic converter from a Toyota Prius died when the car fell on top of him.
The incident unfolded on Wednesday at a home in the city of Monroe when a homeowner called the police after finding the man stuck underneath his car, which was parked outside.
"It appeared that he had fallen, the vehicle had fell down on top of him while he was trying to cut the catalytic converter off of the car," said James Maye, the public information officer of the Union County Sheriff's Office.
Police said in a Facebook post about the incident that their investigation found that the man had been in the process of cutting the exhaust pipe when the car fell off the car jack and on top of him. They said they found power tools alongside his body.
Police said they were unsure of how long the man's body had been stuck underneath the Prius, but that the man's wife had called them earlier that day to report her husband missing. They did not release the man's identity, as the investigation is ongoing.
"The UCSO hopes that the distribution of this information will highlight the dangers associated with the theft of motor vehicle parts and will serve to discourage anyone actively involved in this type of criminal activity," the post from the police said. "A catalytic converter and the small amount of scrap value it holds is not worth the risk of losing your life."
A similar incident was reported in May in Anaheim, California, when a thief was crushed after the small scissor jack he used failed to keep the car suspended.
Officials say catalytic converter thieves target the Toyota Prius because its catalytic converter is more valuable to sell. They also target midsize SUV vehicles because it's easier to get underneath them.
Here's a local news report about the incident:
Suspected Catalytic Converter Thief Dies From Being Crushed By Car www.youtube.com