Centralia (WA) Police Chief Stacy Denham said his officers were frustrated Sunday when they had to let a suspected catalytic converter thief drive away.

State law prohibits law enforcement from getting involved in high-speed pursuits with anyone not suspected of driving under the influence or violent or sexual crimes, KING 5 reports.

In Sunday’s incident, Denham said someone called police saying a man had been looking underneath cars. When officers arrived and told the man they wanted to speak with him, he got in a car, drove over a section of grass and a curb, and sped away, Denham said.

Denham blames an increase on car thefts and catalytic converter thefts on thieves knowing law enforcement won’t chase after them.