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Police recommend precautions against catalytic converter thieves

Folsom police urge residents to take precautions to prevent thefts of catalytic converters.

In recent days, the Folsom Police Department has taken several reports of the devices being stolen from city residents. The catalytic converter is mounted underneath the vehicle and reduces pollution-causing emissions. It is made from platinum and other precious metals sought by thieves, who can use a portable power saw to remove the converter, often in less than 20 seconds, according to a Police Department news release.

The metal could be worth more than $100 at a scrap recycling center, but it could cost the victim between $300 and $2,000 to replace, depending on the make and model of the vehicle, police said.

Thieves target vehicles that sit higher off the ground, such as trucks and SUVs, so they can easily slide underneath. Police said Toyota trucks and SUVs are often sought due to the location of the converter, which is easily accessible for quick removal.

Thieves search for vehicles in parking lots, driveways or curbside, and typically steal the converters during the early morning hours, when it is still dark outside.

To reduce the chances of being victimized, police recommend that residents:

• Park in a garage, fenced area or well-lighted area.

• Report suspicious activity, noises or people who appear to be casing the area.

• Safely and discreetly note the activity and individuals' characteristics to provide a description.

• Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable.

• Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the frame with pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame. Police say this can cost about $60. The additional welding will slow down thieves and might cause them to reconsider targeting the vehicle.

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