Vacaville police are investigating the thefts of more than 20 catalytic converters from vehicles in the city in the past two months, a police lieutenant said. The 21 thefts since mid-September mirror a nationwide trend, Lt. Matt Lydon said. A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that cleans exhaust coming from vehicles. Some drivers do not know where they are located on their vehicle until they hear a loud noise underneath their car when they start the engine, Lydon said.
The thefts in Vacaville were primarily from Toyota Tundras, 4Runners and Sequoias, Dodge Ram pickup trucks and Honda Accords, Lydon said. Those vehicles are targeted because there is ample room under the vehicle to access the catalytic converters, according to Lydon.
The converter is bolted on in older models and can be removed with a wrench, but on newer model vehicles thieves must cut the converters from the vehicles, Lydon said. The value of the catalytic converter is the platinum metal, not the converter itself, Lydon said. Thieves can get between $100 and $200 for recycled platinum. The thefts in Vacaville have mostly occurred in driveways at residences between midnight and 5 a.m., but some thefts have occurred in parking lots in the middle of the day, Lydon said.
Residents are advised to park their vehicle in a garage, if possible, and report any suspicious behavior, such as someone working on a vehicle with a small flashlight during odd hours or working under a vehicle in a parking lot.
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