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Crooks are going after your vehicle's exhaust emission control device at high rates due its high value and ease of stealing.

A person can crawl under a vehicle and in a matter of seconds remove catalytic converters with the use of some basic power tools.  Once you start your vehicle and hear it make an unusually loud noise, it's an obvious signal that you've been ripped off.

A problem is that this desirable vehicle part is not marked with any sort of serial number, so it makes it nearly impossible to trace.  While the devices do contain precious metals inside, thieves are not interested in recycling them.  Instead, they are selling them to people to install on other vehicles.  Sometimes the buyers are auto shops, which of course is illegal.  Electric / hybrid vehicles such as a Toyota Prius are currently some of the largest targets of catalytic converter thefts because it can easily retail for $2,000.  The price for one on a regular vehicle is often between $500 and $1,000.

Here are some tips on how to protect yourself:

1)  Park in a garage if possible.  Thieves target vehicles parked in driveways and on streets.

2) Use a tool to engrave your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) onto your catalytic converter.  Then take a photo of it.

3)  Make a report to law enforcement if you see anyone attempting to sell these parts.  This includes online or at a business.  Thieves are only successful if they have a buyer, so do your part to help put them out of business.

4) Always be skeptical of low prices.  If the deal seems too good to be true it probably is and you are likely being sold a stolen part.

5)  If you purchase a catalytic converter at a shop, ask the employee to see the part before installing it on your vehicle.  The part should be new.  It is a good idea to bring your engraving tool with you to the shop and etch your VIN at this time while the part is easily accessible.

6) Calibrate your car's alarm to set off when it detects vibration.

Contact Information

Tony Botti
Public Information Officer
(559) 600-8137
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.