The City of Chino Hills and Chino Hills Police Department continue to proactively take steps to address catalytic converter thefts and reduce the chance of theft in the City. At the September 13, 2022, Council Meeting, the Chino Hills City Council unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance making it unlawful to possess used catalytic converters that are not attached to a vehicle unless a person can provide documentation or proof of lawful possession.
Catalytic converters are the exhaust emission control device located on the underside of a vehicle that reduce toxic gases and pollutants in the exhaust. Converters contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which are then melted down to extract valuable metals. Catalytic converters can be stolen from a vehicle in 15 minutes or less and thieves can receive an average of $75-$150 per converter from metal recyclers.
Currently, law enforcement’s ability to protect the public and punish catalytic converter theft is very limited. In California, a Police Officer who encounters an individual in possession of a catalytic converter must locate the rightful owner before making an arrest. If the Police Officer cannot locate the rightful owner, the person in possession of the catalytic converter may be released.
Under the new City ordinance, it will be unlawful for any person to possess any used catalytic converter that is not attached to a vehicle. If a person is found in possession, they must provide valid documentation or other proof to verify they are in lawful possession of the catalytic converter. While this ordinance helps to address the issue at a local level, the City of Chino Hills continues to support and advocate for bills with additional layers of protection for victims and stricter enforcement laws needed at the State level.
This law is a great tool in combating catalytic converter thefts and makes Chino Hills a less attractive place to commit this crime, however, it is difficult to prevent completely. The City and Police Department remind residents to park their vehicles in their garages or well-lit areas at night as well as consider having their catalytic converters engraved with an identification number or having a mechanic install a cage or shield around the converter. For questions or more information, please contact the Chino Hills Police Department at (909) 364-2000.