Catalytic Converter Thefts

The City of Mill Valley and County of Marin have seen an increase in the number of reported catalytic converter thefts. Since October 1, 2020, there has been over 200 catalytic converter thefts reported in the county. Mill Valley has reported 19 of these thefts. While there have been successful arrests, the incidents continue.

Catalytic converter thefts are taking place because the converters contain several types of recyclable materials that can be easily “scrapped” for a quick profit. Thefts of catalytic converters increase each time the cost of scrap metal, particularly platinum, increases. The replacement of a catalytic converter is expensive and can cost several thousand dollars. Currently, we are seeing Toyotas being targeted, specifically the Prius. However other makes and models are not immune to converter theft.

Here are several prevention tips which may help prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen:

  • Park in areas where your vehicle will most easily be seen by passers-by. Park under lights after dark, park near windows at a business, or park near security cameras. Criminals don’t like to be seen or heard so parking in well-traveled areas may help.
  • Install street facing security cameras where your vehicle is parked overnight.
  • Install a catalytic converter protection device that will clamp around the converter.
  • Weld a cage system under your vehicle. Some muffler shops have designed cross-bar cages that eliminates access to the pipes and converters. The downside may be, if you need work done on your car, you may have to pay to have the cage removed before the work is done.
  • Etch your converter with your vehicle identification number or license plate number in several different locations. This will help police recover your property if it is stolen. If your converter is stolen, file a police report immediately after the theft is discovered.

Please contact your vehicle dealership or local repair shop for more information on the above services.

While extra patrols are bring performed by the Mill Valley Police Department, our best resource is our community partners. If you hear or see something suspicious call 9-1-1 right away. The removal of a catalytic takes only minutes to complete.

If you have any questions, please contact the Mill Valley Police Department at 415-389-4100.