Uptick in catalytic converter theft leaves residents wary

Feb 12, 2021

Police departments across the Central Coast continue to report a rash of thefts involving catalytic converters. That is part of a car’s exhaust system and inside are metals that thieves can sell. 

Catalytic converters are easily removed and don't have serial numbers or any idenitfying marks.

According to San Luis Obispo Resident Susan Piburn, once stolen it's pretty easy to tell.

"I started it up and then it made a horrific noise such as nothing I've ever heard, kind of a wild animal and a grinding noise," Susan Piburn said.

When the theft occurred, Piburn's Toyota Prius was parked right in front of her house on the street.

SLO Police Patrol Lieutenant, Robert Cudworth, said almost all the catalytic converter thefts reported in the last two weeks have been from cars parked on city streets.

Its a quick process for someone to slide under the car, saw off the converter and be gone, according to Cudworth.

Right now, there's not much police can do besides beef up night patrols, which Cudworth said SLO PD is working on.