Stolen Car Parts| Police Officials Say Thefts are on the Rise

Police say Catalytic converters and car batteries are popular items thieves are stealing from cars around town.

PHOTO: South Pasadena Crime Prevention Officer Richard Lee says thefts from unlocked vehicles is a crime of opportunity. “The thief will simply walk down the street pulling on vehicle door handles in hopes of finding an unlocked door,” he said.

South Pasadena police are warning residents they have seen a rise in stolen vehicle parts thefts in South Pasadena.

Catalytic converters and car batteries are popular items thieves are stealing from cars around town, according to South Pasadena Police Department officials.

“Recently, we have seen thefts in vehicle parts rise, especially catalytic converters and car batteries,” explained South Pasadena Police Department Crime Prevention Officer Richard Lee.

Why catalytic converters? “Their popularity is due to three precious metals they contain: platinum, palladium and rhodium,” he said. “Because catalytic converters are located under the vehicle, they can’t be easily secured. Thieves will often use an electric saw and with two cuts will take the catalytic converter.”

Lee said SUV type vehicles are often targeted since they are higher off the ground and allow a thief easier access to get underneath the vehicle.

Lee also said car battery thefts are relatively new, compared to catalytic converter thefts, “but has quickly begun to be a popular stolen item. The thief doesn’t need to access the interior of your car to open the engine hood, so there won’t be any need to smash your car window,” he said. “Once the thief steals your car battery, they may return to steal your second battery since they know it is a new one.”

Locks, noted Lee, can be purchased to help secure a battery. “Be on the lookout for anyone loitering underneath or tampering with the engine hood, and call the police on any suspicious activity,” he said.

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