400 stolen catalytic converters worth $400K seized from San Bernardino home

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Deputies seized 400 stolen catalytic converters worth $400,000 from a San Bernardino home.

On Tuesday, deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Central Patrol Station served a search warrant at a home along the 1000 block of North Barton Street.

Authorities said the residence was a suspected catalytic converter fencing operation, where stolen catalytic converters were bought and sold.

In addition to the 400 stolen catalytic converters, investigators also found a stolen vehicle on the property, along with evidence linking the fencing location to catalytic converter thefts.

Deputies believe the person behind the operation is Miguel Angel Hernandez Jimenez, 22, of San Bernardino. Jimenez was not at the home when the search warrant was executed.

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The investigation is ongoing, and the case will be submitted to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.

If you have any relevant information regarding this investigation, you're urged to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department - Central Patrol Station. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or leave information at www.wetip.com.

There's been a recent spike in catalytic converter thefts across Southern California.

On Wednesday, a suspected thief was crushed to death by a Toyota Prius as he was apparently trying to steal its catalytic converter in Anaheim, police said.

Why are catalytic converters a target for thieves? They want what's inside.

"They're filled with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. I believe they melt them down and separate the metals and sell them because they're worth more than gold," said David Kilbourne, who runs Foreign Carriage Service in Thousand Oaks.

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