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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia Weekly / Arcadia Police arrest two suspects for catalytic converter thefts

Arcadia Police arrest two suspects for catalytic converter thefts

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On Saturday at approximately 4:56 a.m., Arcadia Police officers responded to the 500 block of Fairview Avenue regarding a stolen catalytic converter.

Officers were able to locate the suspect’s vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. During their investigation, the officers located two catalytic converters, several saws, and a vehicle jack. The two occupants were determined to allegedly be responsible for the theft and were arrested, Arcadia Police said.

Items found in the trunk of the suspect’s vehicle. | Photo courtesy of Arcadia PD

Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise across the country since the start of the pandemic.

According to a study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), “there were 108 catalytic converter thefts per month on average in 2018, 282 average monthly thefts in 2019, and 1,203 average thefts per month in 2020.” That’s more than 14,000 catalytic converters reported stolen in 2020.

NICB President David Glawe attributes this to the rise in metals used in catalytic converters. “As the value of the precious metals contained within the catalytic converters continues to increase, so do the number of thefts of these devices,” Glawe said in a statement. “There is a clear connection between times of crisis, limited resources, and disruption of the supply chain that drives investors towards these precious metals.”

Catalytic converters — which convert exhaust emission into less harmful fumes — use platinum, palladium, or rhodium. “As of December 2020, rhodium was valued at $14,500 per ounce, palladium at $2,336 per ounce, and platinum going for $1,061 per ounce,” NICB reports. “Typically, recyclers will pay $50 to $250 per catalytic converter.”

Replacing a stolen catalytic converter and fixing damage caused can cost from $1,000 to $3,000 dollars, and insurance might not cover the entire cost.

The NICB recommends vehicle owners:

  • Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device. These are available from various manufacturers and can provide a level of security from theft.
  • Park fleet vehicles in an enclosed and secured area that is well lit, locked, and alarmed.
  • Park personal vehicles in a garage. If not possible and vehicles must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights. While lights may not provide complete security, it may make some thieves think twice, making them leave the area and your vehicle untouched.
  • Call local law enforcement and your insurer should you become the victim of a catalytic converter theft.

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