Catalytic converters are again being stolen in high numbers from Toyota trucks parked throughout the City of Santa Barbara. There was a similar rash of thefts this time last year, and the problem has persisted in the city off and on since at least 2008.
This time, catalytic converters were cut from trucks on 3900 La Colina Road, 1200 Coast Village Road, and 1200 East Gutierrez Street. “A possible suspect vehicle associated with these thefts has been described as a gray colored Ford Focus,” said police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood in a prepared statement.
Commonly found in vehicles’ exhaust systems, the converter is an emissions control device containing small amounts of precious metals that can be melted down and sold to a scrap metal yard for $40 to $50 a pop. “Vehicles with a raised chassis, like trucks, are often targeted because they are easier to crawl under,” explained Harwood.
“The thefts usually occur during the night. The suspects will typically park nearby, sometimes in the middle of the street, and then crawl under the targeted vehicle and cut out the catalytic converter,” he went on. “In some instances victims or witnesses have reported hearing the sound of an electric saw being used.”
The police ask residents to report suspicious activity by calling 911.