South San Francisco City Council Adopts Urgency Ordinance to Address Catalytic Converter Thefts

South San Francisco, CA  August 17, 2022 Press ReleaseCity of South San Francisco logo

Ordinance makes it illegal to possess a used catalytic converter in South San Francisco


Possessing a used catalytic converter in South San Francisco is now illegal in South San Francisco making it more difficult for thieves to obtain and sell these stolen parts on the street.


“Stolen catalytic converters are a state-wide issue, and it’s an issue that continues to plague our community, and it’s not something we will not tolerate,” said South San Francisco Mayor Mark Nagales. “It was important for us as a City Council to address this issue head-on and give our police officers more tools in their toolbox to combat these senseless crimes.”


Catalytic converters are targeted by thieves because they are non-traceable, can be scrapped for a quick profit in less than 10 minutes, and contain precious metals that people can sell for upwards of $1,500. Sadly, victims of this theft end up paying about twice as much – about $3,000 – to replace the stolen converter.


Between January 2021 and June 2022, the South San Francisco Police Department has investigated 433 cases and have arrested several individuals responsible, and with this urgency ordinance now in place, it allows officers to charge individuals caught with a used catalytic converter in their possession versus having to catch them in the act of stealing one.


“Our City Council recognizes that catalytic converter thefts are a problem because of the unique challenges in enforcing and prosecuting people conducting these crimes, so we appreciate having the ability to enforce the law by apprehending people who have used catalytic converters in their possession,” said South San Francisco Police Chief Scott Campbell.


Per the ordinance, it is unlawful to possess any used catalytic converter that is not attached to a vehicle unless the person has valid documentation or other proof to verify they are in lawful possession of the catalytic converter. A person caught with a used catalytic converter faces a misdemeanor charge, which may include a fine or imprisonment, or both. The fine may not exceed $1,000, and imprisonment can be up to six months.


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Jan Esparza Pederson
Jan Esparza Pederson
1 year ago

About time

1 year ago

They need to crack down hard on the people buying these from the thieves. They are creating the market for the crime, and are the ones making the most money. They pay bottom dollar and sell high, while taking virtually no risk since they aren’t the ones committing the crime.

steve m
steve m
1 year ago
Reply to  Choderus

exactly kill the market kill the crime or at least reduce it. the thieves will alway’s find a way to get them off our car no matter what kind of deterrents you add .might slow them down.
that is it. current scrap prices of the stuff in them :
palladium $2157 per ounce
rhodium $15000 per ounce
platinum $940 per ounce
better than the illegal drug trade. how are they doing with that. ? oh i forgot they are legal now apparently. . anyway
our elected officials flap there gums with no really good solutions . mostly half steps.
they only focus on the crime not the reward. cut the head off the snake the snake will die.

steve m
steve m
1 year ago

still no solution on how to take the profit incentive out of the it ?
where are these people scrapping them for profit ? why
can no one figure that one out ? the criminals are out smarting you .

1 year ago

It’s about time too bad the police are not patrolling effectively at Oyster Point Marina area daily car break ins and catalytic thefts.

1 year ago
Reply to  Scott

My catalytic converter was stolen twice from my Honda Accord. The first time for new converter was over $4000 as had to rent a car for a week and quick fix was $300 it took over a month to get new converter.

Had car back one month and stolen second time early morning 2:50 a.m. from Senior building lot. The thieves were caught on the one camera in parking lot. Police Chief Campbell said if they could not get license plate number not much they could do. Even if caught because of Prop 47, they are released with in a few hours to do it again

This is not only an inconvenience but costly even with comprehensive insurance.

Think auto manufacturers need to be held accountable and to install more securely.
I could have had steel bars around the converter when repaired but that would have been out-of-pocket approx $2000.

I would think the Insurance Companies could lobby for auto manufacturers to put the converters more securely. I am going to contact my Representative & Senator re a bill to hold auto manufacturers accountable.

We pay a lot for our cars and the consumer should not have to go through this. I’m a senior on limited income and this unnecessary, added expense is a burden.

Thank you for your time.

Marilyn Foster
Baden Avenue
South San Francisco