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Warning Regarding Recent Catalytic Converter Thefts

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has received a number of reports this past month of catalytic converter thefts.  The thieves are targeting vehicles in the middle of the night and sawing off their catalytic converters, which contain precious expensive metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium that they can sell to make money.  While there is not a specific area where the crimes have occurred, most of the vehicles targeted were Toyotas or Hondas. In all, we have received more than a dozen catalytic converter thefts over the past several weeks.

Reports of catalytic converter thefts are becoming an increasing problem nationwide.  Since 1975, all vehicles produced in the United States must have a catalytic converter as part of the exhaust system. The catalytic converter is an emissions-control device that is used to reduce the toxicity of emissions.  It is attached to your exhaust system and is located underneath your car.

To help prevent a catalytic converter theft:
-Always park in well-lighted areas
-At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close to the entrance of the building or where there is traffic
-If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that is busy during the day and secured at night
-Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable
-Purchase a vehicle security system and make sure it’s set to trigger with just the slightest motion
-Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame
-Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or online

If you have any information regarding any recent catalytic converter thefts, please call the Sheriff’s Office at 805-681-4100 or to leave an anonymous tip call 805-681-4171.  You can also leave an anonymous tip on our website at

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