The 19 arrested people men also had $100,000 in cash on them, at the time of their arrest, and a Ghost Gun
3/11: The Santa Clarita division of the LA County Sheriff's Department reports that it has recovered 250 stolen catalytic converters, and arrested 19 suspects. The smog mediation devices, which scrub automobile exhaust, are frequently stolen by thieves who sell them to scrap dealers. The converters are said to be worth $250 to $750 each.
The entire lot of 250 catalytic converters is estimated to be worth $750,000 or so. The 19 arrested people men also had $100,000 in cash on them, at the time of their arrest. The LASD also recovered a "ghost gun," which means a weapon with the registration number removed.
The press release from the LASD follows:
Theft of catalytic converters has been a growing trend in 2020, with a 400% increase throughout Los Angeles County, and a significant increase in the Santa Clarita Valley as well. Catalytic converters are attached to the exhaust system of a vehicle. They contain precious metals and can be "scrapped" for quick profit. In a proactive approach to lower catalytic converter theft, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station Crime Impact Team led a search warrant operation on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, centered in the city of Los Angeles. After countless hours of follow-up investigation, multiple locations within the city were believed to be related to thefts occurring in the Santa Clarita Valley, as well as several Los Angeles County areas.
Numerous resources and law enforcement partners assisted with the operation including; Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station Detective Bureau and Special Teams, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station, Century Sheriff's Station, Walnut Sheriff's Station, Major Crimes Bureau, Los Angeles County Probation, Aero Bureau, Task Force for Regional Automobile Theft Prevention, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Search warrants were served at 4 different locations, which resulted in: 19 individuals arrested, 250 catalytic converters recovered, valued at an estimated total of $750,000, as well as 1 "ghost" handgun, and approximately $100,000 seized. At this time, the investigation is still ongoing and recent victims are encouraged to contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station Detective Bureau.
We recommend the following ways to help prevent you from becoming a victim of theft: Park in well-lit areas with surveillance cameras. Weld the bolts on your catalytic converter shut. Engrave or etch the license plate number onto your catalytic converter. Always report suspicious activity – If you see something, say something.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has partnered with the city of Santa Clarita and launched "Guard That Auto" campaign to combat the increase in grand theft auto and catalytic converter thefts.The campaign educates the community regarding safety tips on how to keep your vehicle and its contents safe.
If you have any information regarding the theft of catalytic converters, please contact the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station at 661-255-1121. Anonymous tips can also be submitted through "LA Crime Stoppers" at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or on http://www.LACrimeStoppers.org.
Sent by: Natalie Arriaga, Public Information Officer