Santa Barbara – The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has received a number of reports this week 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 which they can sell to make money. The crimes occurred between the hours of 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. starting on Sunday, August 28, 2016 and have continued throughout the week. Vehicles have been targeted in Goleta, Isla Vista and the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County near Goleta. Some of the locations include the 200 block of Ellwood Beach Drive, the 300 block of Magnolia Avenue, the 5000 block of Rhoads Avenue, the 5000 block of Calle Cristobal, the 500 block of Pintura Drive and the 6600 block of Sueno Road. Most of the vehicles that were targeted were Hondas or Toyotas.
One of the victims reported that he woke up at 4:00 a.m. and observed a dark, possibly gray sedan parked parallel to his parked vehicle. The victim saw a male subject walk away from his vehicle holding something in his hands and then got into the front passenger seat of the other vehicle which then drove away.
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’s 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 the 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 www.sbsheriff.org