Drivers beware: Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in the western San Fernando Valley and Honda Accords and Acura TL vehicles made between 1998 and 2004 are the main targets, Los Angeles police said Monday.
Catalytic converters help reduce harmful emissions by making toxic pollutants in gas exhaust less virulent. Precious metals, such as platinum, palladium and rhodium serve as the catalysts in this reaction and make catalytic converters valuable to thieves.
When taken to a metal recycler a catalytic converter can fetch between $40 and $200, police said. Replacing one can cost upwards of $1,000.
According to the LAPD, robbers raise vehicles with a jack before using a metal cutting tool to remove the catalytic converter from under the car. Stealing one only takes a few minutes.
Because they are easy to unbolt or cut and lack identifying markings they are a popular item to steal and are difficult to track down.
Police recommend residents take precautions by parking out of plain view, parking in secure, well-lit areas, and looking out for strangers working on cars in their vicinity.
Other options include adding an alarm, etching the converter with a serial number, and welding the bolts of “bolt on” converters shut.
Anyone with information on catalytic converter thefts in the west San Fernando Valley is encouraged to contact police at 818-374-7611.