Thursday, October 27, 2016

Police warn of catalytic converter thefts south of Sunset Boulevard

Honda Element after thieves cut out catalytic converter | James Stathas

The LAPD Rampart Division is advising vehicle owners across the southern section of Silver Lake and East Hollywood to watch out for catalytic converter thieves.

A posting on the division’s Facebook page says:

In the areas south of Sunset Blvd between Vermont Ave and Rampart Blvd, there were several catalytic converters stolen. These are cut from underneath the vehicle and can be sold quickly and easily. Replacing them is very expensive.

Catalytic converters contain platinum and other precious metals, making them an attractive target for thieves.  Many of the converters have been stolen from Honda Elements, which sit high, making it easier to get underneath and saw off the converter, police have said.

Some vehicle owners have turned to installing converter protectors – or “cat clamps”  – that act like a metal cage around the catalytic converters to discourage thieves. But some owners have been told that thieves just cut right through the clamps with bolt cutters.

But catalytic converter thefts have not been the only problem facing vehicle owners south of Sunset.  During the past week,  at least three motor vehicles have been stolen on streets near Hoover Avenue, according to CrimeMapping.com.

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  1. Other than warning us to beware, what is the LAPD doing to stop these thefts, which have been going on for over a year? Are there stakeouts with decoy Honda Elements? Are they cracking down on the chop shops that buy the stolen converters? Anything?

  2. It should be noted that the reason these get stolen is not for the precious metals inside, and it’s not so much just to make money on auto parts. The real pressure to steal these is normal everyday people who just want to get their autos registered.
    Previously, when the catalytic converter wore out enough to affect the ability of the vehicle to pass the smog test, there were many aftermarket manufacturers selling new ones that worked acceptably well.
    For a person on a budget, used catalytics off of wrecked cars could be purchased for a reasonable price to get their vehicle back on the road.
    However, after a change in state law, new catalytics must go through state approval process, which eliminated many of the aftermarket manufacturers from this market. Then, the state of Calilfornia outlawed the sale of perfectly good used catalytic convertors creating undue hardship on motorists and unheard of demand for good used convertors.
    The only new ones available are from the original equipment manufacturer for up wards of $1000, and in some cases there are NO SUPPLIERS of new ones at all.
    Hence, your neighbor down the street who just wants to get to work is providing the economic incentive for thieves who can make $2000 a night easily.
    Come on California Legislators, do your job and repeal these ill-conceived restrictions and reduce crime in the process!

  3. Between June 7 and June 13, six catalytic converters were taken in the northern part of Rampart Division. Extra patrols were initiated, and none were reported taken between June 14 and July 4. In the four days following July 4, two were stolen.

    On July 9, detectives assigned to a catalytic converter task force, based out of downtown, followed a 22-year-old known serial thief from the San Fernando Valley to the downtown area. He did not commit any thefts in Rampart Division, however he tried to steal a Toyota Camry in Olympic Division, and was arrested. A search warrant was served at his residence in the valley, and three additional stolen vehicles were found. In addition, patrol officers on our AM Watch have arrested two suspects in the past two weeks for stealing the catalytic converters. Those thefts, and burglaries from vehicles during overnight hours, continue to be a focal point of our anti-crime missions.

    Tom Topping, interesting information regarding the legislation, I’ll forward that to my chain of command in the event they’re unaware.

    [email protected]
    (213) 484-3670

  4. Mine was stolen last night, January 18th, I was parked on Melbourne and Hillhurst in Los Feliz. The neighbors said they just ignore loud noises now. Really? After six months this crap is STILL happening?

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