A woman who was sleeping inside of her vehicle in the parking lot of a Palmdale shopping center became the victim of a grand theft attempt on Tuesday.
Four suspects parked their vehicle next to hers and attempted to steal her catalytic converter by sawing it off. The woman awoke to the sound of the saw and immediately put the car in reverse, accidentally running over one of the would-be thieves.
She called 911, and deputies arrived at the scene to find the car partially backed out of the parking space with the victim still underneath.
The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was later identified as a suspect in grand theft.
The other three suspects were detained for questioning, and the case was classified as a homicide.
Catalytic converters have become hot targets for auto thieves due to their value, with the cost of repairing or replacing them often reaching thousands of dollars. In New York City, these kinds of thefts have risen as much as 600% across the five boroughs last year. Last week, thieves stole the catalytic converter from the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile parked in Las Vegas.
Authorities have not released the identities of those involved, or whether the woman will face any charges. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.