CALIFORNIA—The Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón revealed on Monday, October 4 that he is asking automobile manufacturers to work with is office to explore solutions to address the rise in catalytic converter thefts across Los Angeles County and across the nation.
“Catalytic converters are quick and easy to steal, and thieves can quickly turn them into cash,” said Gascón. “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, asking 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.”
Gascón reached out to the four major automobile manufacturers to request their assistance in finding a solution to this nationwide problem. To date, only Torrance-based Honda Motor Company, Ltd., expressed interest in exploring possible solutions to reduce these thefts that target all vehicle owners.
There has been a rise in catalytic converter thefts nationwide since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. California is amongst 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 and can get up to $1,200 each.
The District Attorney led a similar effort to decrease 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.