Warning Regarding Reports of Catalytic Converter Thefts

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Source: City of Goleta

The City of Goleta has learned that there have been a number of catalytic converter thefts from vehicle exhaust systems in the Goleta area over the past several weeks. 

The theft of catalytic converters is popular because they can be easily removed, they do not have identifying marks like serial numbers, and the components are made up of precious metals that can be resold to recyclers. 

The Goleta Police Department recommends the following to help prevent these thefts:

  • Park in well-lit areas when possible. If you have a garage, park your car inside with the door closed. 
  • Video surveillance around your garage or driveway is also useful.
  • Install motion detection devices near parking areas.
  • Install a catalytic converter protection device.
  • Having the converter welded in place also makes it more difficult to remove.
  • 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.
  • You can also engrave your VIN number onto your catalytic converter to make it easier to identify in case it is stolen and recovered by law enforcement.

If you see suspicious subjects in your neighborhood, please call Sheriff's dispatch. For emergencies, call 9-1-1, and for non-emergencies, call (805) 683-2724.

The City of Goleta contracts with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement services.

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BigDD8 Jan 26, 2021 07:48 AM
Warning Regarding Reports of Catalytic Converter Thefts

I know nothing about cars (but I have one) and my question will prove this: how do you know that your car's catalytic converter has been removed? Is the car inoperable? Does it make alarming sounds? Is there some warning light or message on the dash of a problem? Can you unknowingly drive your car without the cat? And is it dangerous?

a-1611685652 Jan 26, 2021 10:27 AM
Warning Regarding Reports of Catalytic Converter Thefts

Yes, cutting out the cat means the muffler is no longer connected, so the car will be much louder than usual. You would know. The cat's purpose is to remove toxic compounds from your exhaust, so it is very very bad for the environment to drive without it. Not sure about dash lights.

a-1611606982 Jan 25, 2021 12:36 PM
Warning Regarding Reports of Catalytic Converter Thefts

You guys think these people are turning in stolen cats to local recyclers, using their true identity? Lol. The real beef is with the car manufacturers. Ask yourself, why wouldn't car manufacturers install cats in a way that precluded them from being stolen with a simple pipe cutter or Sawzall? Hmmmmm...
Aftermarket cats are terrible and automakers know it. They make a LOT of money off OEM replacement parts, which go for literal thousands for many common vehicles. Spend 100 bucks and get someone to weld rebar or a rebar cage around the commonly cut point. Especially if you own one of the popular models.

a-1611607089 Jan 25, 2021 12:38 PM
Warning Regarding Reports of Catalytic Converter Thefts

They aren't after the cat, they're after what's inside. They are full of precious metals, which if you know what you're doing, can be disassembled, melted down, and sold with no (reasonable) way to trace it.

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