Thursday, July 2, 2015

Catalytic Converter Theft Awareness

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Thursday July 2, 2015, 5:48 PM

LASD - Altadena Station, Los Angeles County Sheriff

Jim McDonnell, Sheriff
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Advisory: Catalytic Converter Theft Awareness
When you think of something being stolen from your parked vehicle, you may think of your stereo, a portable GPS unit, or even coins in the ashtray.  There is one part you rarely, if ever, think of; your catalytic converter.  This type of theft is actually a nationwide problem.  A very few thefts have been reported to the Altadena Sheriff’s Station in recent months and everyone needs to be aware of the issue.
The catalytic converter is part of your vehicle’s exhaust system.  It is an emissions-control device that contains small amounts of precious metal (platinum, palladium, or rhodium) that act as catalysts.  All vehicles sold in the United States since 1975 have at least one catalytic converter.
Although thieves aren’t typically extracting the precious metals themselves, your catalytic converter is still a very valuable part.  A thief can steal a catalytic converter from a parked vehicle in less than a minute and then sell it to a scrap yard for $50.00 to $250.00, depending on the part.
Trucks and SUVs are the most commonly targeted vehicles due to their higher ground clearance and exposed exhaust systems.  The thief can crawl under these vehicles and remove the catalytic converter without the use of a jack.  Also, larger trucks and SUVs often have more than one catalytic converter to comply with emissions standards.
Once under the vehicle, the thief unbolts the catalytic converter or simply cuts the exhaust pipe on each side of the converter using a cordless saw.  The converter can then easily be removed.
If your catalytic converter is stolen, you will know it as soon as you start your vehicle.  It will sound like loud motorcycle mufflers.  Although very loud, it is safe to drive your vehicle directly to repair shop without the catalytic converter.  It does not need to be towed unless there is other damage to the vehicle.
Your repair and replacement cost could be well over $2000.00.

To prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen, here are a few ideas:
*Always park in a well-lit, high traffic area
*Many muffler shops can secure your converter to the vehicle’s frame by welding in some pieces of hardened steel
*There are several catalytic converter theft deterrent systems available through your local auto parts store or online
*Engrave your vehicle’s license number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your catalytic converter to make it traceable (factory parts are marked only with the general part number)

Always watch for suspicious people near parked vehicles.  Any parked vehicle could be a potential target, but be especially mindful in areas where vehicles are left unattended for longer periods of time.  Bus stations, train stations, and “Park and Ride” lots are commonly targeted areas.

Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff’s station. Or if you wish to remain Anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS(8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website 
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LASD - Altadena Station, Los Angeles County Sheriff 
780 East Altadena Drive 
Altadena, CA 91001 
Emergency: 9-1-1 
Non-emergencies: 626-798-1131 
Altadena Sheriff Station 
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780 East Altadena Drive, Altadena, CA 91001
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