The Office of the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) recently partnered with Buena Park, La Palma and Cypress Police to combat thefts against catalysts.
In the June 12 event, residents were able to bring their vehicles to Buena Park, California, to have their catalytic converters etched with their license plates and connect the inverters to the vehicles in the event of theft.
The initiative came after police reported an increase in stolen catalysts locally and nationally. The crime trend is due to the precious metals that are inside the parts, such as rhodium, palladium and platinum, with rhodium selling for up to $ 25,000 per ounce.
“It’s devastating for people who are the victim of it because they can not drive their car after the catalyst was stolen,” OCDA spokeswoman Kimberly Edds told The Epoch Times. ‘And because so much is being stolen now, there is a huge backlog in even ordering the replacement parts for these vehicles. People therefore report that their vehicles have not been in use for weeks or up to a month in a row, which exacerbates the problem. ”
During the Buena Park event, license plate numbers were engraved in 435 converters; an additional 200 cars underwent the procedure during a previous Huntington Beach event.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), catalytic nationwide theft has increased nationwide since 2018, and California is one of the top five states where it occurs. In 2019, the number of converters in Orange County was 314; by 2020, that number had risen to 1,600, Edds said.
When converters are stolen, they can be sold to recyclers for $ 50 to $ 250, but the replacement will cost car owners significantly more. Owners can expect to pay between $ 700 and $ 1500 for a replacement part, with labor billing between $ 3,000 and $ 4,000, Edds said.
The etching prevents the car part from getting stuck. It also facilitates the prosecution of the crimes as it is difficult to prove that the part was stolen without it. Without a victim, it is difficult to prove that thieves did not enter the car part in a lawful manner.
“Because an offense now has to be $ 950 or more, it creates a lot of prosecution issues,” Edds said. “Besides, it’s hard to tie the part to a specific vehicle without a mark, so we’re etching, because we need to be able to prove that it was your catalyst.”
In addition to etching the converter, the government encourages car owners to park in a garage at night, and if this is not possible, to park under a street light.