Police warn Echo Park and Silver Lake Honda Element owners about catalytic converter thieves

Honda Element after thieves cut out catalytic converter | Photo courtesy James Stathas

Earlier this month The Eastsider reported on Silver Lake motorists whose vehicles had been the targets of catalytic converter thieves. Those thefts have continued in Silver Lake as well as Echo Park, with the LAPD Rampart Division this week issuing a warning to the owners of Honda Elements, which have been involved in many of the thefts. “The Element is targeted because the catalytic converter contains platinum and the car sits high, making it easier to get underneath,” said the Rampart Division notice.

Rampart detectives are investigating nearly two dozen cases of the stolen converters, which contain precious metals, like platinum, that can be sold.

Some vehicle owners are installing metal cages to make it harder to steal the converter. The Rampart Division also offered this advice:

  • Get an audible car alarm!
  • Garage your car
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Install surveillance cameras facing your car.
  • Mark your license plate or vin# on the catalytic converter
  • Be vigilant about strangers and call police.
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  1. i understand this is a very real concern in our neighborhood.

    but please, neighbors, disregard the advice to “get an audible car alarm.” the noise pollution generated by car alarms is atrocious, and it dramatically affects the quality of life of anyone within 50 feet of the screaming car. the vast majority of the time these alarms go off there’s been no actual crime, but rather someone accidentally touching the car; and quite often they blare for up to ten minutes before the owner notices and finds his/her means of quieting it down.

    we must balance safety with quality of life!

    • So if I disconnect my car alarm so that if my car is vandalized again, you can sleep through it, you’ll help pay the $2200 replacement cost?

    • In an area where people walk past you and look away to avoid eye contact or saying hello, your response is not far fetched. In this area, the residents do not care about their neighbors and your comment, “please”, is the proof.

      My catalytic converter has been stolen twice in a span of three months this year.

      Perhaps you like to sleep while pretending all is well on the streets outside your home. The reality is all is not well. And if everyone keeps ignoring the situation it will only get worse.

      Here in Silver Lake, which lies North West of Los Angeles, (Search Los Angeles In A Map And You Will See), people need to not only watch out for themselves, but for each other. Because those crimes that are ignored which happen to others may end up happening to us.

      If you hear a car alarm or see suspicious activity:
      1. Look out your window, step out onto your porch and look to see what is happening.
      2. Call the police if you see a crime. Being passive only encourages the thieves to return to the area.

      Los Angeles Police Department North East Station, (323) 344-5701, which actually is located North East of Los Angeles, (Search Los Angeles In A Map And You Will See) should hear your concern and police the area.

      But doing nothing and telling others to do nothing is not the solution.

      As for Border Dude: Get Theft Insurance. I paid a $500.00 deductible (twice, once for each theft) and did not have to pay the entire $2200.00.

      I am already looking into a “Catstrap”. Search “prevent catalytic converter theft” and it and other similar devices will pop up.

      Moderator, if you are going to edit my comment, just don’t post it. We are not East Los Angeles. We may be East of West Los Angeles, But West L.A. Is not Los Angeles. West Los Angeles is West of Los Angeles Proper. (Search Los Angeles In A Map And You Will See)

      • Hmm, when I looked at the map, it said both Silver Lake and the NELA police station are *within* Los Angeles.

        I conclude that Silver Lake is not “North West of Los Angeles”. I do notice that Simi Valley is North West of Los Angeles.

        When I look at West LA, I notice that it is also within Los Angeles proper.

    • That’s just what the catalytic car thief would want you to think. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, our car thief: “please.”

  2. All catalytic converters contain platinum, so this story is half baked for sure.

    Any vehicle with high ground clearance would be a target for such thieves……


    Honda Element owner…..

    • I called the NorthEast police department and the officer said the Element is definitely being targeted.

    • Heh. There is no half-baked-ness about this story. Honda Elements are definitely being targeted – and yes, other vehicles are too – those that are easy to get underneath, but for whatever reason the Element is getting hit hard. My insurance company, the tow company AND my garage each (I am not kidding) immediately asked “is it a Honda Element?” before I even finished saying ‘catalytic converter stolen. . ” I live in Echo Park. There are tons of sites advertising ways to protect your CatCon. . . I bought the CatLock (it had good reviews) – but its not great for the element – the bracket is too small to reach all the way around the Element’s CatCon and the screws that hold it on are vulnerable and easily sawed through. The welded on grate is a pain in the butt if you ever need to repair or change your CatCon. .. as one guy said, other than a garage, chaining a couple of large Rottweilers to your fender might be the only way to seriously protect your car’s underbelly. This SUCKS and I kind of want to lie in wait under my car with a BIG MACHETE and come out swinging and yelling like a psycho bitch from hell when they try to steal from me again. I AGREE THAT SENSITIVE CAR ALARMS ARE A PAIN IN THE BUTT AT NIGHT FOR NEIGHBORS, BUT I ALSO AGREE THAT WE NEED TO BAND TOGETHER AS COMMUNITIES AND KILL THIS BUSINESS; LETS MAKE SOME NOISE FOR SAFETY AND FOR OUR NEIGHBORS. (It’ will be worth it! After all, once they clean out all the Element’s underbellies, they will move on to YOUR car. . .)

  3. My Tundra got hit….

  4. This problem is actually much worse then the story suggests. I had mine stolen 2x in July alone. The police @ Northeast said they were taking 4-6 reports daily on honda element cc thefts..Toyota trucks are also susceptible. Word of advice… contact your insurance and look to lower your comp. deductible, it usually is pretty cheap to lower your deductible to 250 or 100. Secondly, look into a ‘cat-clamp’ the cost either $ 150 and 350… you need braided stainless steel cables as a sawzall apparently will not go through the stainless steel or at least not easily….why the cops don’t set up bait element is beyond me..my car was on the street for less than 3 days before it got hit a second time. My muffler guy said that sometimes the thieves my run a motorcycle past the car twice so you don’t hear the saw noise.

  5. …one more reason to live in the 310.

  6. This happened to me last night on Maltman Ave in Silverlake,

  7. Former Silverlake resident and current Element owner here – now live in a low-crime area and didn’t get my E until after I left CA, but got a Catclamp regardless to deter any potential thieves – not sure how determined the LA thieves are, but it’s worth looking into? This and other options discussed at length over at EOC forum. Sorry to hear you all are suffering out there!


    • Thanks for the post. It just happened to me. Cut the whole thing out like in the picture above. I live in korea town .
      thanks for the tips on the cage and forum

  8. I just had the catalytic converter from my 2007 Prius stolen for the third time in three years!

    Has anyone tried the CatStrap? Is it worth it?

    • I would love to know the same thing. I just got my Honda Elements CatCon stollen for the first time parked on the street in Little Armenia.

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