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Posted on 11.29.2012 9:12 p.m.

Santa Barbara Police Warn of Catalytic Converter Thefts

Source: Sgt. Riley Harwood for the Santa Barbara Police Department

Thefts of catalytic converters are once again occurring throughout the city of Santa Barbara.

Recently, thefts of catalytic converters from Toyota trucks parked on the street have occurred at 3900 La Colina Road, 1200 Coast Village Road and 1200 E. Gutierrez St.

A possible suspect vehicle associated with these thefts has been described as a gray Ford Focus.

A catalytic converter is an emissions control device commonly used in the exhaust systems of vehicles. Catalytic converters are stolen because they contain small amounts of precious metals that are melted down and sold by thieves. 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. In some instances, victims or witnesses have reported hearing the sound of an electric saw being used. Vehicles with a raised chassis, such as trucks, are often targeted because they are easier to crawl under.

The community is advised to be vigilant and to report suspicious activity immediately to the Santa Barbara Police Department by calling 9-1-1.

— Sgt. Riley Harwood is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.

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