An attempted theft of a catalytic converter went badly Monday morning in Sacramento, as the would be-thief was run over and killed by the very vehicle he was attempting to sever the part from.

The theft of catalytic converters from parked vehicles has been on the rise in Northern California and across the country, but one such attempted heist Monday morning in Sacramento ended a little differently than most. KTVU reports that the alleged burglar of a catalytic converter was run over and killed while reportedly attempting to steal the device, according to Sacramento police.  

Law enforcement was notified at about 4:45 a.m. Monday morning that a vehicle had struck a pedestrian outside Methodist Hospital of Sacramento. According to the Sacramento Bee, “Police said on Monday afternoon that the detectives believe the man who died was tampering with the vehicle to steal its catalytic converter before the collision.”

The man was identified as 28-year-old Jose Adolfo Rangel, though his city of residence remains unknown.

It would appear the running-over was unintentional but that’s not certain given what we know. The Bee reports that “Investigators spoke to the vehicle’s driver at the scene of the collision,” but also that “Police said the investigation remained active, and detectives continued to follow up on the circumstances of the incident.”

A catalytic converter, if you’re not familiar, is part of a car’s exhaust system, and also happens to be rich with materials like platinum, rhodium and palladium that have high resale value on the underground recycling market. Neither the San Francisco or Oakland police departments give specific numbers on catalytic converter thefts, but according to the Chronicle, catalytic converter thefts tripled in Berkeley last year, while also increasing in Vallejo and Pacifica.

Related: Catalytic Converter Theft Ring Busted, And — Surprise! — Auto Repair Shops Allegedly In On the Game [SFist]

Image: Ahanix1989 via Wikimedia Commons