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Theft Of Catalytic Converters Is On The Rise. Here's How To Keep Your Car Safe

Cars are shown driving up and down La Cienega Boulevard during the day.
Officials say catalytic converters contain valuable metals that are attractive to those wanting to make a quick buck.
(Chris Yarzab
LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Catalytic converters — the canister under cars that helps cut tailpipe pollution — have been disappearing from cars in Southern California in growing numbers. Toyota Priuses are the most common target.

Those converters have valuable metals inside that make them attractive to someone looking to make quick money.

Skilled thieves can crawl underneath and saw one off in a matter of minutes.

This Wednesday, the City of Industry sheriff's station hosted its second Catalytic Converter Etch and Prevent event.

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Sheriff's Lieutenant Tri Hoang says deputies use a Dremel tool to scratch license plate numbers onto the devices so they can be traced if stolen.

"There's also the possibility that the would-be thief would see the permanently-engraved markings on the catalytic converter and move on to the next vehicle," Hoang said.

If you missed this event, look to make an appointment at another, coming in a few weeks.

In the meantime, some things you can do to keep your catalytic converter from getting stolen include parking in your garage or a well-lighted place, having the device welded to the frame, and calibrating the car alarm to go off with vibration.