Briefing Room: don’t let criminals take your catalytic converters


It takes a thief less than 5 minutes to steal a converter for the metal

Hi Seal Beach. I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen an increase in the theft of catalytic converters from many Seal Beach neighborhoods.

Admittedly I’m not a car guy so I had to do a little research. Catalytic converters are installed on the exhaust systems of cars in order to reduce harmful emissions.

So why are they stolen? Catalytic converters contain platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Turns out these metals are expensive and criminals will strip them from the converters and sell them to recyclers. Crooks can get several hundred dollars for just one catalytic converter. It takes less than 5 minutes for a criminal to steal the catalytic converter from your car.

It is illegal to drive a car in California without a catalytic converter. They normally cost around $2,000 to replace, and without one your car will not run very well.

If your catalytic converter is stolen, you’ll probably notice it pretty quickly. Your car will emit a loud rumbling or roaring sound and it will become louder as you hit the gas pedal.

If you look under your car, you’ll likely see cut pipes where the thieves removed the converter.

To help prevent catalytic converter theft, try to park in well-lit areas near business entrances. The more people walking by your car, the more likely they will see someone underneath it stealing your converter. When at home, try to park in your garage, or install security cameras near your driveway or wherever you park your car.

For more ways that you can help prevent catalytic converter theft, please visit the National Insurance Crime Bureau website at

Seal Beach, please keep being good neighbors. Recently, a catalytic converter was stolen overnight. When the victim discovered the crime in the morning and called us, we documented the crime and checked with neighbors.

One neighbor told the investigating officer that they heard sounds of tools being used on the street in the middle of the night, but didn’t think to call us when it was happening.

Had the neighbor called us to report the suspicious activity, we may have been able to catch the criminals in the act.

Please do not ever hesitate to call us. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, call our non-emergency number at 562-594-7232.

Lastly, it has been weeks since I’ve received any questions from Sun readers. Please email me your questions at

I like answering your questions way more than coming up with my own topics. I’m sure you are curious about something. Thanks!


Briefing Room: don’t let criminals take your catalytic converters