City of Redondo adds law to go after surge in catalytic converter theft – Easy Reader

May 29, 2022 by No Comments

by Garth Meyer

Transporting catalytic converters without proof of ownership is now a crime in Redondo Beach.

The city council passed the ordinance May 17 aimed to reduce theft of the undercarriage car parts which contain valuable metals.

If someone is found in possession of a catalytic converter, they must now show proof they are the lawful owners, such as a receipt from a purchase. If no proof is shown, the person may be charged with a misdemeanor, carrying a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail. 

Before, police had few avenues to combat the problem.  

“We make the arrests and we still can’t get charges filed,” said Redondo Beach Police Chief Joe Hoffman. “We’ve filed zero cases with the district attorney. Zero.”

By California law, it is legal to possess multiple catalytic converters.

“Without being able to identify the victim (through markings made on the auto part) we’re not able to prosecute the case,” the chief said. 

He told the city council of officers arresting the same person for catalytic converter theft twice in 24 hours. 

The theft of these items has seen a dramatic rise nationwide. 

In Redondo Beach, Chief Hoffman counted 108 reports of catalytic converter theft in 2020, followed by an average of 15 per month in 2021 and 66 total so far in 2022, as of April.

“They come in waves,” said Hoffman.” We see an uptick, but then the thefts seem to move on, the people involved perhaps going to another area.”

Metals contained in the converters include grams of platinum ($1,100 per ounce), Palladium ($2,400 per ounce) and Rhodium ($18,000 per ounce). 

“More valuable than gold,” said Hoffman, pointing out that a catalytic converter contains only 1-2 grams of Rhodium. 

Each of the metals from a converter adds up to a total of $200 – $500 in re-sale.

To counter the problem, the RBPD has held etching events, in which police stamp the converters underneath cars with “RBPD” and a license plate or driver’s license number.

This way, if the part is pulled loose and stolen, police will know where it came from.

Otherwise, if someone steals it, police cannot confirm the part was stolen.

If vehicle owners decide to etch their own catalytic converters, the chief advises them to make sure they do it safely. 

The RBPD has more etching events planned. ER



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