Crime, Fire + Courts

Catalytic converter thieves on the prowl again

By March 31, 2011

They’re at it again.

Davis police say thieves are back on the prowl for catalytic converters, a part of a vehicle’s emissions system that contains precious metals such as copper and platinum. They’re also good for a fistful of cash from automotive recycling yards.

Twenty catalytic converter thefts were reported in Davis between Feb. 26 and Monday, Lt. Paul Doroshov said. Most occurred in West Davis, just east of Highway 113.

A total of 34 such thefts have been reported since last June, Doroshov added. The city experienced similar rashes of the thefts in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

“Thieves are targeting Toyota pickups, Toyota utility vehicles, and are striking during the late-night to early-morning hours,” Doroshov said. Some are quite brazen, slicing the part from the vehicle in front of homes and in public parking lots.

The Toyota models likely are favored because they sit high off the ground, providing easier access to the catalytic converter.

Replacing the part can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000 when you factor in labor, said Doroshov, who advises vehicle owners to do what they can to avoid becoming a theft victim.

“We urge people to secure their cars in their garage overnight when garage space is available,” Doroshov said. Anyone who observes suspicious activity in their neighborhood should immediately call 911, he added.

Doroshov said police also are encouraging metal recyclers to seek identification and license-plate information from people who are recycling multiple catalytic converters. Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to contact the Davis Police Department at (530) 747-5400.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or (530) 747-8048.

Lauren Keene

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