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Catalytic converter thefts on the rise on the Central Coast

Catalytic converters recovered.jpg
Posted at 5:11 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 08:11:15-05

Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise on the Central Coast. Thieves steal them to sell the precious metal inside, but the supply chain shortage is now leaving victims with no way to fix the damage.

In a matter of minutes your catalytic converter could be gone.

"They go underneath with just a little saw and within five minutes they're gone," said Victim of Catalytic Converter Theft, Ed Rains.

That's exactly what happened to Ed and Susan Rains. They received a call from the storage facility where they keep their motor home, notifying them of the recent catalytic converter theft.

"They said we have some bad news for you. Your catalytic converter was stolen from your motor home along with 10 others," said Victim of Catalytic Converter Theft, Susan Rains.

"We have really had no help. We can't find a catalytic converter to replace the one that we lost. We've had no help from our insurance company. We've had no help from the California Air Resource Board," said Susan.

Automotive repair shops tell me they have seen a shortage of car parts in general because of the supply chain issues, but the demand to replace stolen catalytic converters has left some automotive shops without replacements.

"There is not one in the United States available for our motor home. Not one," said Ed.

John Reeves of Reeves Automotive says they've replaced 15 to 20 catalytic converters recently.

"They're just not coming in. So it's becoming more challenging to find parts, certainly," said Reeves Automotive Owner, John Reeves.

It is illegal to sell used catalytic converters in California, meaning the sale of these stolen parts takes place on the street.

Reeves says if your catalytic converter is high off the ground and easy to get to it's a target for thieves.

"We've been installing catalytic converter shields. It's an aluminum plate that we rivet to the bottom of the car, but that's only available on Prius right now," said Reeves.

Reeves says another way to protect your car is to park it in a garage if you can so that thieves don't have access to it.