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SB Sheriff’s warn increase of catalytic converters thefts in Santa Barbara County


SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -- Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of an increase in catalytic converter thefts in the area.

The Sheriff's Office is urging residents to be aware and vigilant about catalytic converter thefts throughout the county, especially in densely populated neighborhoods and in rural areas.

They say this is a rising crime trend seen in other California counties.

In 2021, 276 catalytic converter thefts have been reported in Santa Barbara County so far.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office-Criminal Investigation Bureau statistical data shows the most targeted vehicles are Honda Accords, Toyota Prius and Ford F250-F350 series trucks.

The theft process happens with suspects quickly get underneath a vehicle, cut the exhaust metal pipes to and from the catalytic converter with an electric saw. Surveillance videos show the theft being completed in less than two minutes while an accomplice waits in a nearby getaway car. The catalytic converters are then sold and stripped for their valuable metals. 

Some theft prevention tips are:

  • Keeping your car in a locked garage or a well-lit area close to your home.
  • Setting up cameras to record the parking area can help deter thefts and be useful in an investigation.
  • Installing anti-theft devices to make a catalytic converter harder to remove.

Anyone with information on suspicious activity can call the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office at 805-683-2724 or 911.

Anyone needing help about an existing catalytic converter theft can contact the Sheriff's Detective Bureau at 8-05-681-4150.

Julia Nguyen

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