District Attorney George Gascón announced that he is asking automobile
manufacturers to work with him to explore creative solutions to address the
rise in catalytic converter thefts across Los Angeles County and the nation.
“Catalytic converters are quick and easy to steal, and thieves can quickly
turn them into cash,” District Attorney Gascón said. “In addition, the lack
of unique identifiers makes it virtually impossible to prove in court that a
particular catalytic converter was stolen.”
“These thefts are costly to vehicle owners and result in higher insurance
claims for us all,” Gascón said, urging automobile manufacturers to join him
in seeking “to develop creative and inexpensive solutions to substantially
prevent these crimes from occurring and reduce the likelihood of
victimization in Los Angeles County and the rest of the nation.”
District Attorney Gascón has reached out to the four major automobile
manufacturers to request their help in finding a solution to this nationwide
problem. To date, only Torrance-based Honda Motor Company, Ltd., has
expressed interest in exploring possible solutions to reduce these thefts
that target all vehicle owners.
There has been a sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts nationwide since
the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the National Insurance Crime
Bureau. California is among the top five states for catalytic converter
thefts, according to the agency.
Catalytic converters are used to turn hazardous exhaust from an automobile
into less harmful gases. Thieves steal the converters because the devices
are made of highly valuable metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium.
They can fetch up to $1,200 each.
District Attorney Gascón led a similar effort to reduce cell phone theft
when he was the top prosecutor in San Francisco. He sponsored legislation
making California the first state requiring kill switches on cell phones
that make the device inoperable if it is stolen.