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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Spike in catalytic converter thefts reported in San Diego County

Police said thefts often occur in neighborhoods near main thoroughfares, freeways, or at commercial establishments.
A catalytic converter is seen at Industrial Metal Recycling, Friday, Jan. 26, 2007, in Oakland, Maine. Thieves have long targeted car stereos, air bags, halogen headlights, even pocket change from the ashtrays. But now they are crawling under vehicles and cutting away the catalytic converters for the precious metals inside. (AP Photo by Robert F. Bukaty)

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — There has been a major increase in catalytic converter thefts throughout San Diego County, according to the Oceanside Police Department.

On Thursday, the Oceanside Police Department sent out a press release warning San Diegans of the increase in catalytic converter thefts. Police said thefts often occur in neighborhoods near main thoroughfares, freeways, or at commercial establishments. 

What is a catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters are a critical exhaust component of vehicles located underneath vehicles.

How/Why are catalytic converters stolen?

Suspects often remove catalytic converters with saws and snipping tools. The entire process can take just minutes. Catalytic Converters are sold for the precious metals they contain after being stolen.

What are the most frequently targeted vehicles?

Vehicles in commercial establishments that are not in view of surveillance systems and Toyota Prius’s are the most frequently targeted vehicles.

How to prevent the theft of your catalytic converter

• Park in a garage or well lit area if a garage is not available.

• Park near building entrances or in high traffic areas.

• Have your catalytic converter welded to your car.

• Calibrate your vehicle security system to detect vibration.

• Purchase cameras that clearly capture where you park.

• Purchase a security device for your catalytic converter. “Cat Strap” and “Cat Clamp” devices both cost less than $200.

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