LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department struck a major blow to a big problem in the Southland.
Santa Clarita Valley deputies recently arrested 19 suspects and recovered 250 stolen catalytic converters. They say thefts of the anti-pollution device were up 400% in 2020.
The value of the recovered car parts was about $750,000.
Here are some tips from law enforcement on how to avoid becoming a victim:
- You can weld the bolts on catalytic converters shut
- Engrave your license plate number on the part
- Park in well-lit areas
- Report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood
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.