Catalytic converter thefts

Updated September 03, 2019
Prius auto most targeted by thieves

Your car has something in it that’s in high demand for thieves. 

No, it’s not your GPS or your cell phone.  The item in questions is underneath your car, takes only seconds to remove, and is required for your car to run properly and legally.  It’s your car’s catalytic converter.

Roseville has seen an increase in converter thefts in recent months. In July alone, there were 15 thefts.  The Toyota Prius was the most frequently Catalytic Convertertargeted vehicle with 10 of the 15 thefts. Why the Prius?   It may be due to the fact that they have larger converters and thus contain more rare metals.  Also, their location in the undercarriage makes them relatively easy to remove once the vehicle is jacked up off the ground. The Honda Accord and Odyssey as well as the Toyota Highlander and Tundra were also targeted in July.  Catalytic converters are typically stolen by using a small portable saw to quickly cut it off from below the vehicle.  A single Prius catalytic converter could sell at a scrapyard for more than $450, as the Wall Street Journal reported in February. Neighboring communities such as Sacramento, Davis, and the Bay Area have also seen a spike in catalytic converter thefts.

Why catalytic converters?  The part contains precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium, making it a popular target for thieves looking to make a quick buck. Converters can often be removed in less than two minutes and have no identifiable markings.

Don’t make your car an easy target for thieves.
  • If possible, park your car in your garage with the door closed when you are at home (or use motion-detection lights if parking in a driveway).
  • Park your vehicle in well-populated, well-lit areas.
  • Park close to a building entrance or to the nearest access road when parking in a public lot.  This is due to the increased amount of pedestrian traffic in those areas.
  • If you have a security system on your car, calibrate it so vibration sets it off.  This ensures the alarm activates if a thief tries to saw off the converter.
  • Consider talking with your mechanic on how to better secure your catalytic converter.
  • Etch the license plate number/VIN on the catalytic converter.
  • If you do become a victim of catalytic converter theft, file a report with the police department.
  • If you see something suspicious, like a person working on the underside of a car in the middle of the night along, call the police immediately.
  • Consider starting a Neighborhood Watch group with your neighbors.  By working together, you and your neighbors can look out for each other. 

Nothing can totally prevent a criminal from stealing your catalytic converter.  Thieves select vehicles that are easy targets.  You can make your vehicle less attractive to thieves by following the tips mentioned above.

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