Thieves Steal SFPD’s Catalytic Converters Right in Front of the Station

A veteran officer at the SFPD was quoted as saying he doesn't believe they will ever be recovered.

Angry about your catalytic converter being stolen? San Francisco police can now relate. Four marked police vehicles—two vans and two trucks—all had their catalytic converters stolen right in front of a law enforcement building early Monday morning. As Mission Local reports, authorities have yet to apprehend any suspects.

The incident highlights how brazen thieves of the emissions control device have gotten. Catalytic converters contain precious metals and they are relatively easy to remove from a vehicle with the right tools. Thefts of catalytic converters from hybrid cars and vehicles with high ride heights are especially common. Converters from hybrids typically contain more of the metals and high-riding vehicles—like vans and trucks—don’t need to be jacked up to access the valuable devices.

The thefts took place near the corner of 16th Street and De Haro Street, where several police vehicles are typically parked by the Special Operations Bureau building at 17th and DeHaro. That’s where the region’s SWAT team and bomb squad are housed. Likewise, the San Francisco district attorney’s office is just a few hundred feet away. If the police had to respond to a call using one of these vehicles, any suspected criminals would hear them coming. Catalytic converters typically sit before a car’s muffler and removing one effectively bypasses the sound-deadening device.

Speaking to Mission Local, a “higher-up” at the SFPD reportedly stated that the people who stole the catalytic converters “really don’t think much of the police.” Another SFPD officer speaking to the California publication likewise stated that the perpetrators in this instance will probably get away with it. At least they’re honest.

The theft remains an open investigation. Last year, California police recovered 250 stolen converters in a massive bust which led to 19 arrests. Authorities in other states have had similar successes, although stopping these thefts before they happen is what people really want. Big bust or not, it would be best if it never happened.

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