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Manhattan Beach Police to Host Free Catalytic Converter Etching Event

May 26, 2021 05:39PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Here's a chance to thwart criminals and keep your car safe: The Manhattan Beach Police Department is hosting a free catalytic converter etching event on Saturday.

The "Etch & Catch" will be held at the Kinecta Federal Credit Union headquarters parking lot (1440 Rosecrans Ave.) from 8:00 a.m. to noon. It will be first come, first served. To let the police know that you want to attend, DM them on Instagram ( or Facebook ( 

MBPD detectives say that etching your catalytic converter can serve as a proactive approach to combat catalytic converter threats and ultimately better equip investigators in the follow-up of such crimes.

Catalytic Converter Thefts

Thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles are becoming increasingly common across the country, including in the city of Manhattan Beach.

According to the Manhattan Beach Police Department, more than 60 vehicles in town had catalytic converters stolen between June 2020 and March 2021. The breakdown in thefts was as follows:

• June - December 2020: 48 reported catalytic converter thefts

• Jan - March 19, 2021: 17 reported catalytic converter thefts

MBPD reports that thefts have predominantly occurred between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. (with a peak at 3:00 a.m.).

They have happened across the entire city in no one particular area, with the most frequently targeted vehicles being the Toyota Prius and the Honda Element.

Suspects typically use a mechanical handheld reciprocating saw (loud apparent noise) or mechanical underground cable cutter (quiet and swift), according to MBPD. The whole process can take place in a matter of minutes.

Why Catalytic Converters?

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device used to curb harmful emissions by turning pollutants into less-harmful gasses.

Thieves target catalytic converters because they contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium, or rhodium. Catalytic converters can bring in up to several hundred dollars from a metal recycler. And with rising prices for rare metals, the theft of catalytic converters has become a growing nationwide trend.

Thieves tend to target hybrid cars because the damage to those rare metals is less on a hybrid car than in a standard car (because its gas engine is used less frequently). Pickup trucks and other high-rise vehicles are also targeted because the catalytic converter is easier to access.

Having a catalytic converter stolen can become a costly headache for vehicle owners. Replacing a catalytic converter, such as for a Prius, may cost up to $3,000 and is not always covered by insurance.

Tips for Residents

To prevent catalytic converter theft,  MBPD recommends that residents take the following precautions:

1. Park your vehicle in the garage or in a well lit area if possible;

2. Consider installing a “Catalytic Converter Cage” (fits all make/models; starts at approximately $150) or a “Catalytic Converter Shield” (specific to Toyota Prius; starts at approximately $125) through your local muffler shop;

3. Have your catalytic converter etched with identifying information to aid in the investigation/prosecution if recovered stolen (as police are doing on Saturday);

4. Calibrate your vehicle’s alarm to activate upon vibration;

5. Ensure that your home video surveillance or doorbell cam is functioning properly and is set to record;

6. If you see, or hear something strange, say something. For emergencies, call 911; for non-emergencies, call the MBPD at 310-802-5140.

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