Yreka police catch suspect in theft of catalytic converters; here's why they get stolen

Bill Choy Mike Chapman
Mount Shasta Herald

Yreka police say they caught a catalytic converter thief and now they want to hear from car owners who've had their catalytic converters cut out of their vehicles.

Police said they were outside the Rite Aid on Main Street in Yreka on the afternoon of April 9 on another call when they saw several catalytic converters inside a running vehicle parked in front of the store.

They also saw narcotics paraphernalia and two battery-operated cutting tools.

No one was in the vehicle but police say they contacted the unidentified owner when he walked up to them.

A catalytic converter is missing from a Prius.

In a search, police found a total of seven catalytic converters, blades for the cordless cutting tools, battery packs and a second used narcotics pipe.

Yreka police there's been a number of recent thefts of catalytic converters in the city and surrounding area.

The emission control systems can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

The Associated Press said catalytic converters have several precious metals in them including palladium, platinum and rhodium, and that unscrupulous scrap metal deals pay hundreds of dollars for them.

A thief can saw off the converter from under a vehicle in minutes, leaving the owner with a repair bill of a few thousand dollars, authorities to The AP.

The Yreka case is under investigation.

The YPD said if you're a victim of a catalytic converter theft or missing cordless cutting instruments, contact Sgt. Ray Boutin at the Yreka Police Department at 530-841-2300, or in person at 1400 Fairlane Road in Yreka.