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Sheriff: Catalytic converter thefts up in Santa Barbara County

Posted at 9:44 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-19 00:44:40-04

It seems the recent rash of catalytic converter thefts isn’t SLO-centric, it cuts across county and state lines.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said Friday it has heard of more than a dozen catalytic converter thefts over the past several weeks.

Just as in San Luis Obispo this month, thieves in Santa Barbara County are targeting Toyotas and Hondas in the middle of the night.

There is no specific area in the county where crooks are sawing off the valuable car parts, deputies said. The problem is increasing nationwide.

Built into exhaust systems to control toxic emissions, catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium. Thieves sell them to make money.

Investigators offer this advice to keep thieves from crawling under your car to steal your catalytic converter:

  • Park in well-lighted areas
  • Park in a busy area when possible
  • Park within a fenced area if you can
  • In parking lots, park close to a building
  • Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable
  • Buy a car alarm that can be triggered with the slightest motion
  • Have a local muffler shop secure your converter to your car’s frame
  • Buy a catalytic converter theft deterrent from an auto parts store

Call the sheriff’s office at 805-681-4100 or leave an anonymous tip at 805-681-4171.