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Santa Cruz woman becomes victim in catalytic converter theft

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) -- It's a problem police have been dealing with for years now, but a recent catalytic converter theft has one woman sending a Message to Max because she's frustrated. She can't drive her car anymore because her catalytic converter was stolen right outside her home.

"One day, I went out to do my usual errands, and I started my car and there was this very loud motorcycle like noise," says Sue Addison.

She says the problem continued to get worse… and she had no idea what it was.

"I called up the toyota place and described my problem because i said it needs some type of care and the woman said 'oh, you have a stolen catalytic converter, you need to call the police,'" says Addison.

Santa Cruz Police say catalytic converter thefts really spiked last year. It's because the precious metals it contains have gone up in value.

Detective Trevor Kendall with the Santa Cruz Police Department says since April of 2020, 258 thefts have happened in the city of Santa Cruz. Some people have become victims twice.

"The dominant car that is being affected are Toyota Prius', but there's a wide variety of makes and models and years that have been victimized," says Detective Trevor Kendall with the Santa Cruz Police Department.

However, that doesn't help pay for the damage to Sue's Toyota Prius or make it drivable again.

"The cost of this would be three to four thousand dollars and I just don't have three to four thousand dollars to put into this," says Addison.

We received a statement on behalf of Toyota. It reads:

The safety and security of our customers are top priorities. Catalytic converter theft is an industry-wide challenge. This unfortunate situation is one we take very seriously and continue to monitor. While the Prius is just as much at risk as any other vehicle, Toyota and Lexus have more than 3.6 million hybrids in the U.S. on the road today, more than all other manufacturers combined. We want to remind drivers to follow the basics to protect their vehicles against theft – such as parking as close to entrances as possible in well-lit areas. While not the solution to the problem as a whole, taking preventative measures like smart parking and adding the vehicle’s VIN number to the catalytic converter can help protect drivers from theft.

Christine Henley, Toyota

Police say there are bolts and devices that can be welded to your car to make the theft more difficult.
they also say if this happens to you, give them a call so they can follow trends.

As for the damage -- that's all out of pocket or dependent on insurance coverage.

Central Coast / News / Santa Cruz / Santa Cruz County / Video
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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.

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