Catalytic Converters Again Being Stolen in S.B.

Emission Control Devices Contain Small Amounts of Precious Metals

Thursday, November 29, 2012
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Catalytic converters are again being stolen in high numbers from Toyota trucks parked throughout the City of Santa Barbara. There was a similar rash of thefts this time last year, and the problem has persisted in the city off and on since at least 2008.

This time, catalytic converters were cut from trucks on 3900 La Colina Road, 1200 Coast Village Road, and 1200 East Gutierrez Street. “A possible suspect vehicle associated with these thefts has been described as a gray colored Ford Focus,” said police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood in a prepared statement.

Commonly found in vehicles’ exhaust systems, the converter is an emissions control device containing small amounts of precious metals that can be melted down and sold to a scrap metal yard for $40 to $50 a pop. “Vehicles with a raised chassis, like trucks, are often targeted because they are easier to crawl under,” explained Harwood.

“The thefts usually occur during the night. The suspects will typically park nearby, sometimes in the middle of the street, and then crawl under the targeted vehicle and cut out the catalytic converter,” he went on. “In some instances victims or witnesses have reported hearing the sound of an electric saw being used.”

The police ask residents to report suspicious activity by calling 911.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

It seems like a lot of work to get these out of a car....and a lot of time and noise.

Native1 (anonymous profile)
November 30, 2012 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Noise yes, work/time no.

A battery powered reciprocating saw ("sawsall" or "sawzall") would make short work of a mild-steel exhaust pipe. Slide under the truck and make two cuts, maybe a minute each, and then back in the getaway car. Five minutes or so, for $40? That's like $480/hr!

I wonder if legislation has been considered, for only authorized businesses, like automotive repiar or muffler shops, to be able to sell these to recyclers? DIY'ers would be screwed with that simple of a solution, but IMO most home mechanics don't bother welding their own exhaust systems.

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
December 3, 2012 at 8:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Heck! They would get more gold from computer chips than the Converters byt would require intelligence and non-drug hampered muscle control to remove the gold plating with tweezers.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
December 4, 2012 at 9:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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