Thieves Are Targeting Catalytic Converters

There’s been a rise in thefts of catalytic converters — and South Pasadena police are warning residents to be aware … not that much can be done.

“There’s been half a dozen or so in the last three months … and that’s a high number for our small city,’’ said Det. Richard Lee of the Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit.

“(But) a catalytic converter theft is difficult to prevent since it is exposed under a vehicle and can’t be locked up.”

SUVs are particularly targeted by thieves, who steal the emissions-control devices for their precious metals, Lee said.

“(SUVs) are higher off the ground and easy to access, as opposed to a Porsche or Ferrari, where ground clearance is only a few inches,” Lee said.

“There are three precious metals in the converter that thieves want — platinum, palladium and rhodium. But each converter only has these in small amounts, so thieves must steal many of them in order to make them worth their while.”

The cost to replace a converter can easily cost up to thousands of dollars. While catalytic converter thefts have always been around, they do seem to occur in spurts, Lee said — noting there were virtually none reported in South Pas in the first seven months of the year.

“The best prevention is to park cars in in well-lit areas at night,” Lee said. “And always keep an eye out for suspicious people around vehicles, especially under them.”

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Kamala Kirk is a contributing writer for the South Pasadena Review, San Marino Tribune and The Quarterly Magazine. Kamala formerly served as Managing Editor of Beauty Launchpad Magazine, West Coast Editor of American Salon Magazine, and Digital Editor for E! Online. A native of Hermosa Beach, California, she is a proud USC Trojan and pug mom to Wrigley the Pug (@pugofpasadena).