The Burbank Police Department continues to see an increase in thefts of catalytic converters. In many cases, thieves target hybrid vehicles, specifically the Toyota Prius. The department is committed to combating this rise in theft and asks the public to help in deterring would-be thieves.
A catalytic converter turns engine pollutants into less harmful emissions before leaving a vehicle’s exhaust system. They are critical in keeping our air clean and reducing smog, but also a target for thieves who steal catalytic converters 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. 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 has provided the following tips to help deter and prevent 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 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.
The Burbank Police Department is participating in the “Etch and Catch” catalytic converter anti-theft program. To deter thieves and track stolen catalytic converters, the department has teamed up with several local auto repair shops to have Burbank residents’ license plate numbers etched onto their catalytic converters.
“As a community, we need to work together to prevent crime,” police said in a statement.
If you see a crime in progress or anything that appears to be suspicious, report it to the Burbank Police Department. Their 24-hour, non-emergency number is (818) 238-3000. For emergencies only, dial 911.
First published in the August 5 print issue of the Burbank Leader.