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The Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station has reported “a dramatic rise” in the number of catalytic converters—exhaust emission control devices that often contain valuable metals such as platinum or palladium—being stolen from the underside of parked cars. 

“Over the weekend deputies conducted three separate traffic stops resulting in the arrest of seven catalytic converter bandits,” one Facebook post from the station’s page stated, accompanied by pictures of the tube-like converters. 

“These converters are cut from the vehicle’s undercarriage and sold to scrap or salvage yards for the rare metals they contain. Recently, the Toyota Prius has been the car of choice for these thieves,” the post explained. 

The sheriff’s station advised that residents could prevent these thefts by parking their cars inside a garage or marking their catalytic converters with identifying numbers, which, the post said, mechanic’s shops can engrave for a low price. Other measures the station suggested residents take to avoid catalytic converter theft is having a mechanic weld the converter’s bolts, installing security cameras and alarms and parking in a well-lit area.

“Catalytic converter theft has become the prevailing crime throughout Los Angeles County, and in the fight against crime, we are stronger when we act as a team!” the post declared. 

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