Woodbridge residents say they are becoming increasingly alarmed about a flurry of catalytic converters being stolen from parked cars.
Four catalytic converters have been stolen so far this year in Woodbridge and 17 throughout unincorporated San Joaquin County, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Les Garcia.
The most recent incident, according to Neighborhood Watch members in Woodbridge, took place between 9 p.m. July 27 and 6 a.m. on Saturday. Someone removed a catalytic converter from a Toyota Tundra parked in the Del Rio subdivision off Woodbridge Road.
In the city of Lodi, catalytic converter theft has decreased since several thefts were reported in the summer of 2011, according to Lodi police Lt. Fernando Martinez.
In July of last year, nine thefts were reported on a single day in Lodi, mostly in a rectangular area bordered by Lodi Avenue, North Church Street, Turner Road and Lower Sacramento Road.
“It goes in cycles,” Martinez said, explaining why the city of Lodi is seeing fewer catalytic converter thefts.
Losing a catalytic converter can be expensive since they cost $600 to $1,000 to replace, Martinez said. For most part, thieves resell catalytic converters as a single unit, though they are sometimes stripped for parts, Martinez said.
Quoting Nationwide Insurance, Garcia provided some tips so that your catalytic converter isn’t stolen:
- Park your vehicle in populated, well-lit areas. Better yet, park in a closed, locked garage.
- Install conspicuous video surveillance cameras outside homes.
- Etch your vehicle’s VIN number to the converter to maker it easier to identify a ring of thieves in the future.
- Check local auto parts stores or the Internet for catalytic converter theft-deterrent systems.
- Check the news media for epidemics of local converter thefts so that residents can take extra precautions.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.