Recently, deputies with the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station Crime Impact Team were performing a crime suppression operation in Santa Clarita in the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 24th. As a part of the operation, deputies performed a traffic stop for undisclosed reasons, when they discovered three males in possession of tools used to remove catalytic converters as well as eight converters themselves, freshly removed from unsuspecting victims’ vehicles.

The suspects were taken into custody and brought to the SCV Sheriff Station to undergo booking and processing. Deputies have so far been able to locate five of the victims and return their catalytic converters. Three of them, all from Toyota Prius models, have yet to be claimed.

There has been a sharp rise in the theft of catalytic converters in the Santa Clarita Valley. Catalytic converters are exhaust emission control devices that reduce toxic gasses and emissions from an internal combustion engine and convert the substances into less toxic chemicals and emissions.

Catalytic converters are a popular target for thieves due to the precious metals used in their construction. Platinum, palladium, and iridium are rare metals that can fetch a nice price at recycling centers. The SCV isn’t the only place thieves are targeting vehicles for their catalytic converters. The Valley and other parts of LA county (as well as other counties in Southern California) are also plagued by thieves.

There is no way to be 100% safe from thieves, but there are a few easy steps you can follow that will help reduce your chances of being victimized. For starters, don’t leave your car overnight in large, relatively empty parking lots. Second, when parking at night, look for well-lit areas. Thieves that steal catalytic converters are opportunists and are much less likely to target a vehicle that’s highly visible. You can also have a serial number etched into your catalytic converter to help track it if it does end up stolen.

If you drive a Prius and think your catalytic converter may have been stolen, make sure to contact the SCV Sheriff Station to see if they have yours.