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Numerous Vehicle Catalytic Converter Thefts Reported in Goleta

Reports of catalytic converters being stolen in Goleta during late hours of the night have spiked starting on Aug. 28, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Thieves are sawing off vehicle catalytic converters that contain expensive metals such as palladium, platinum and rhodium, which they can sell, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Hondas and Toyotas were often targeted, Hoover said.

The crimes have taken place between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., and have occurred in Goleta and Isla Vista, and have spread to the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County near Goleta, she said. 

Some of the locations include the 200 block of Ellwood Beach Drive, 300 block of Magnolia Avenue, 5000 block of Rhoads Avenue, 5000 block of Calle Cristobal, 500 block of Pintura Drive and 6600 block of Sueno Road.  

In one report, a victim woke up at 4 a.m., and saw a man walk away from a dark, possibly gray sedan parallel parked to his car, Hoover said. 

“The victim saw a male subject walk away from his vehicle holding something in his hands, and then got into the front passenger seat of the other vehicle, which then drove away,” Hoover said.

A catalytic converter is a part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, and is located underneath located under the car. It is an emissions-control filter used to reduce the toxicity of motor vehicle emissions.

To help prevent a catalytic converter theft, SBDP has provided the following tips:

» Always park in well-lighted areas.

» At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close to the entrance of the building or where there is traffic.

» If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that's busy during the day and secured at night.

» Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable. 

» Purchase a vehicle security system and make sure it’s set to trigger with just the slightest motion. 

» Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame.

» Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or online.

Anyone with information regarding the catalytic converter thefts is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 805.681.4100, or leave an anonymous tip call 805.681.4171.  Anonymous tips can also be left on the Santa Barbara Police Department website.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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