South San Francisco sees rise in catalytic converter thefts

Catalytic converters, especially on Trucks and SUV’s, are being targeted by thieves

Catalytic converters, especially on Trucks and SUV’s, are being targeted by thieves

WARNING UPDATE FROM SSFPD – please SHARE and warn your neighbors. CALL 911 if you see suspicious people in your neighborhood!

Over the last week, the South San Francisco Police Department has seen an uptick on Catalytic Converter thefts from parked vehicles.

Catalytic Converters, along with copper and other metals, have become a hot commodity for thieves. Catalytic Converter theft has become popular because of their value, relative ease to steal (unbolt or cut out), and their lack of identifying markings.

A Catalytic Converter is a part of the vehicles exhaust system. It helps reduce vehicle pollution. Catalytic Converters are located under a vehicle on the exhaust pipe before the muffler(s).

Thieves take the stolen Catalytic Converters to metal recyclers. The recyclers pay an average of $50 per converter for the precious metals inside them. But certain converters they will pay up to $250.

Any vehicle manufactured after 1974 can be a target. However, Trucks and SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) are the vehicles they target the most. They prefer Trucks and SUV’s, because they are higher off the ground and easier to crawl under.

Toyota Trucks and SUVs in the ’90s to the late 2000s are especially vulnerable because the Catalytic Converters are more exposed than the average converter. The thieves can quickly unbolt/cut out the converter in minutes. Some of the larger Toyota Trucks and SUV’s have two Catalytic Converters as well.

The best way to protect your vehicles’ Catalytic Converter is to park your vehicle(s) inside a garage or in a secure side yard.

Motion detector lights or continuous lights illuminating your driveway may be a deterrent.

A vehicle motion detector alarm might help.

Have extra metal welded to your exhaust system. Muffler shops are offering creative ways to protect your Catalytic Converter. They weld on metal to make it difficult for the Catalytic Converter to be removed. The cost is often less than your insurance deductible and definitely less than the full replacement cost (if you don’t have comprehensive insurance).

Install a Catalytic Converter Protection Device. There are devices on the market that will clamp/go around your Catalytic Converter. Devices are often more expensive than welding extra metal, but for some this is the option they prefer.

If your Catalytic Converter is stolen, you will know right away when you start your vehicle. It will sound like you don’t have a muffler at all (like loud motorcycle mufflers). It is ok to drive your vehicle directly to a muffler/dealer shop to get the Catalytic Converter replaced. You do not need your vehicle towed to the shop.

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