HomeCity NewsBPD Reports Increase in Catalytic Converter Thefts

BPD Reports Increase in Catalytic Converter Thefts

First published in the Jan. 7 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

The Burbank Police Department reported an increase in catalytic converter thefts in the month of December.
Department officials arrested 11 individuals in catalytic converter thefts and said that thieves are targeting hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius.
A catalytic converter turns engine pollutants into less-harmful emissions before leaving a vehicle’s exhaust system. They are critical in keeping the air clean and reducing smog but are also a target for thieves who steal them for the precious metals they contain — platinum, palladium and rhodium.
“A thief can get under a car and steal a catalytic converter in minutes, leaving a vehicle owner with a steep bill for a replacement,” said BPD Communications Director Sargent Brent Fekety. “Catalytic converter thefts can cost victims thousands of dollars in repair work, while thieves cash them in at scrap yards for an easy payout.
“The Burbank Police Department is committed to combating this rise in theft and has arrested 11 people during the month of December for suspicion of stealing catalytic converters,” he added. During those investigations, eight catalytic converters suspected of being stolen were recovered.
The Burbank Police Department issued a series of tips to aid the community in deterring and preventing thefts of catalytic converters:
• Park in a garage or well-lit area.
• Consider installing motion sensor lights and surveillance cameras.
• Etch the vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate number on your catalytic converter for identification should it be stolen.
• Be mindful and observant of anyone under a vehicle, especially late at night.
• Keep an eye out for people loitering near vehicles that might be carrying tools or other items without a reasonable explanation.
In addition to spreading awareness of the uptick in thefts, BPD has partnered with local mechanics in a joint effort dubbed the “Etch and Catch” Catalytic Converter Anti-Theft Program.
“To deter would-be thieves and track stolen catalytic converters, the Burbank Police Department has teamed up with several local auto repair shops to have Burbank residents’ license plate numbers etched onto their catalytic converters,” Fekety said. “As a community, we need to work together to prevent crime.”
If someone sees a crime in progress or anything that appears to be suspicious, the Burbank Police Department encourages those individuals to call the BPD 24-hour, nonemergency number: (818) 238-3000.

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