Police in Rocklin and Folsom are warning residents to take steps to protect their vehicles following a rash of catalytic converter thefts in recent days.
Rocklin police reported that at least 10 Toyota owners were victimized Tuesday night or early this morning. Hardest hit was the Pinnacles Drive area near South Whitney Boulevard, according to a Police Department news release.
In Folsom, police reported that 13 catalytic converters were stolen throughout the city Friday morning. All the targeted vehicles were Toyota trucks or sport utility vehicles.
Recyclers pay about $100 for the converter to extract and sell the small amount of precious metals that the devices contain. But replacing a catalytic converter can cost the vehicle owner $300 to $3,000, depending on the year of the vehicle, according to a Folsom Police Department news release.
Officials say protecting catalytic converters from theft isn't easy. One method is to have it welded in at a automotive repair shop, but a Folsom victim who had the device welded suffered more damage damage when thieves tore up the vehicle trying to break the weld, police said.
Vehicle owners can have the catalytic converter etched with the vehicle's license plate and vehicle identification numbers, making it easier for law enforcement to track the device if it is stolen and to support the arrest if a suspect is captured.
The best way for residents to protect their vehicle is to park it in their garage. For those who park in a driveway, police recommend adding motion lights or cameras to the front of the house to discourage criminals.
Neighbors also are encouraged to keep and eye on each other's vehicles and to report suspicious activity to police.