MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) Monterey police say they have seen an increase in catalytic converter thefts from vehicles recently.
"First, I was like what's this noise? Is something wrong with my engine? And then I went to my mechanic and he said somebody stole your catalytic converter," said Dorit Gersh, a Monterey resident.
Since July 1, 2020, the department said it has investigated 29 reports of catalytic converter thefts, mainly at night in residential neighborhoods.
According to police, Toyota and Honda vehicles are the most common targets.
"They called Toyota dealer and it's like $3,500 to replace everything and to do the work, and there's a two month waiting period," said Gersh.
In an effort to reduce the number of thefts, police said they have increased patrols in residential areas, but they also released tips for community members to prevent thefts. They include:
- Parking in well-lit areas and near building entrances.
- Park inside garages and keep the door shut when possible.
- Have the catalytic converter welded into the vehicle's frame.
- Engrave the vehicle identification number onto the catalytic converter.
- Calibrate the vehicle alarm to go off when it detects vibration.
Catalytic converters are targets for theft because they contain metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium, which are highly valuable.
"I want people to be aware because there's so many Toyota Priuses, older models, that people didn't know about. I didn't know about this," said Gersh.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity is asked to call 831-646-3914 or 911. Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call police at 831-646-3830. To remain anonymous, call 831-646-3840.