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Local catalytic converter thefts on the rise

Take steps to prevent costly repairs
By: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
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Over the recent summer months, the Folsom Police Department has seen an increase in catalytic converter thefts in the city limits. This automotive component that is part of the vehicles emissions system is a hot commodity, often sold and scrapped in exchange for money due to the precious metals they are made with.

“We have seen an increase; the locations have varied,” said Sgt. Andrew Bates, of the Folsom Police Department. “We have seen thefts on residential streets, apartment parking, hotel parking and in the parking structure. We have even seen a theft at a shopping center parking lot.”

According the Bates, the targeted locations can be any place where cars will be left for a few hours or more. However, the thefts are generally taking place in overnight parking areas.  Regardless of when or where it takes place, while the thieves are cashing in on the stolen parts, replacing and repairing the damage to your vehicle can run well over $1,000.

The most common vehicles targeted are trucks and SUVs, according to the Folsom Police Department. It is suspected these types of vehicles are being targeted because they are high off the ground which provides easy access.

Toyota Tundras and Sequoias are the predominant brand being targeted, however most trucks and SUVs are vulnerable. Many Toyota brand vehicles that are 2016 and newer have their converters inside the engine bay which makes older model Toyotas the particular target.

In an effort to prevent becoming a victim of catalytic converter theft, the Folsom Police Department offers the following tips to deter thieves.

  • Park your vehicles in your driveway or in your garage.
  • If no garage or driveway, then park in a well-lit area or near video surveillance.
  • If your converter is attached with bolts consider having the bolts welded in place or cutting the heads of the bolts off to prevent the bolts from being loosened.
  • Consider etching or engraving with your license number on your converter so metal shops can identify the vehicle.
  • You can purchase do-it-yourself kits or consult a mechanic on the process.
  • Purchase a catalytic converter theft prevention kit that is designed to create a cage around your converter.
  • Alert your neighbor or neighborhood watch leader of any suspicious activity you learn of, vehicles or persons, so everyone can keep a watchful eye.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police department immediately.