Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

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Reported by edhat readers

  • A neighbor told me that about three nights ago, his car was stolen from the 2500 block of De La Vina Street. It was found a few blocks away. Last night, a catalytic converter was stolen from another car in the same block.

  • My neighbor, Councilmember Kristen Sneddon, said a catalytic converter was just stolen off her Prius. It was in her driveway! Please look out for one another in your neighborhoods. 



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Crystalandmaui Jun 14, 2022 05:35 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Yes they do come back to the same cars, my friends was stolen twice. Who ever is buying these is just as guilty, they know these are stolen, how but they contact the police when these get brought in. It was caught on camera, it was the people driving around in the trucks picking up scrape metal, also homeless people who stay in the campers on the side of the road, my brother located some homeless people at their motor home and he did get his converters back from them.

MarcelK Jun 15, 2022 06:34 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Stolen catalytic converters are the opposite of scrap metal; they are stolen for the precious metals they contain.

Luvaduck Jun 14, 2022 11:40 AM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

I'm just curious and have no mechanical knowledge: If you haven't got a way to garage your vehicle, is there a way to hook it to a battery so that if someone tries to steal it, they get a helluva quick shock, enough to make them scream and leave a burn but not potentially kill them?

el_smurfo Jun 14, 2022 04:17 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

You could hook an electric cattle gate controller to it. My grandfather used to use an old ford coil hooked to his toilet seat for a little surprise.

el_smurfo Jun 14, 2022 08:49 AM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

You'd think an active city council person would have the chief of police answering for this at the very next meeting. It's ridiculous that we pay these people 6 figures, retire at 50 with full benefits and they seem to have no effect on crime whatsoever. Where are the neighborhood patrols? Has anyone ever seen a police car on their street? Where are the stakeouts and stings? They seem to have plenty of resources to hand out tickets, but when active crime is happening, they are nowhere to be seen.

SBStoner Jun 14, 2022 07:50 AM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

If the state will pay me 100k per year I will develop east to implement regulations that see the resellers need to tally serial numbers, sales transactions and customer/supplier databases.

It’s really like the simplest issue to solve and the fact that we don’t do any of this to prevent this needless crime is appalling. It’s the EXACT issue with the war on drugs. Too much focus on users/addicted and not enough on the distributors.

MarcelK Jun 15, 2022 06:38 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Learn the basic facts: there's no resale market for catalytic converters, which are stolen for the precious metals they contain, not for their function.

Sail380 Jun 15, 2022 06:27 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

El Smurfo, The converters are disassembled and the precious metals are removed for processing. No reselling of functional converters. Serializing the converters is a feel good do nothing thing. The thief's don't inspect for marking before removal. On the other hand if a deterrent is attached to the converter they quickly move on .

el_smurfo Jun 14, 2022 08:51 AM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Many surrounding counties have programs to serialize the converters, making them less desirable for resale. Santa Barbara is just a big fat sitting duck for property crime with thieves driving all the way from Sacramento for our safe haven of crime.

chico berkeley Jun 13, 2022 09:11 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Uh, pretty sure they extract the metals by taking them apart.
Melting the good stuff down.
No way to track that.

SBStoner Jun 18, 2022 08:04 AM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

It’s definitely traceable, the question is who pays for it and when does the city/county/state implement it. It’s very simple. If you buy cobalt, some regulatory agency knows about it (the IRS for example).

Now, we just need an agency designed for carefully tracking the sale of these rare metals from auto shops to scrapyards, and penalties to disincentivize these crooks.

a-1655234109 Jun 14, 2022 12:15 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Not really, just a little bit of chemistry knowledge (or google) and some readily available chemicals and supplies. Had a cousin try his hand at extracting gold from old circuit boards, seemed way more trouble that it was worth at the scale he did it. Stinky process too.

Luvaduck Jun 14, 2022 11:46 AM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Isn't "melting down" & separating metals complicated and doesn't it require a lot of expensive specialized equiptment? If so, maybe it requires "middle-man" labs or foundries.

RHS Jun 13, 2022 06:50 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Clearly this industry is supported by scurrilous fences who accept the converters and pay for them. The way to solve this is to get a task force counties wide to locate these dealers and stop the market. It really cannot be that hard to find out who is buying these.

m2457 Jun 13, 2022 05:34 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Anyone with a Prius, should run out and get a cage welded over the CC. My son has had two stolen, not cheap and often on back order. The thieves keep circling around and have been caught in SLO, Orcutt, Carpinteria and even LA. Same group, family/cousins/friends from the Sacramento area. They seem to wait a bit, watch your car and come back.

a-1655170641 Jun 13, 2022 06:37 PM
Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Absolutely all Prius owners should have one. These folks are so brazen and quick that they have been known to return to the same cars to steal the cat a second time. Here is a list of the most common targets in the western US:

2001-21 Toyota Prius.
1985-2021 Ford F-Series.
1989-2020 Honda Accord.
1990-2022 Ford Econoline.
1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado.
2007-20 Subaru Outback.
2007-17 Jeep Patriot.
2003-11 Honda Element.

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