According to the S.B. Police Department, 13 catalytic converters were stolen from Toyota trucks between 12/1 and 2/3. The converters, which remove toxic chemicals from vehicle emissions, often contain valuable metals — platinum in the case of Toyotas.
Sergeant Dan McGrew of the SBPD’s property division said the platinum is usually cashed in for about $40 or $50 at scrap metal yards. Pickups and 4Runners are especially vulnerable because their undercarriages are high off the ground and thus easily accessible.
McGrew suggested that automobile owners ask their mechanic to tack weld their converters to deter thieves. Tom Carrejo, parts manager at Toyota of Santa Barbara, said tack welds will likely break due to the vibration of exhaust systems and that the best way to prevent theft is to park in a garage.