Catalytic converter thefts strike city

Police are investigating the city’s first-ever spate of catalytic converter thefts, in which three of the vehicle implements were stolen in a matter of days.

Catalytic converters are devices used to reduce the toxicity of emissions originating from an internal-combustion engine.

Despite the difficulty and time involved in removing them, catalytic converters have been prime targets for thieves nationwide thanks to the cache of precious metals — including platinum, palladium and rhodium — found inside.

The items were stolen from two trucks and a sport utility vehicle on Monday on the 800 block of Masson Avenue; Tuesday on the 3800 block of Elston Drive; and Wednesday on the 1900 block of Spyglass Drive, according to the police log.

Given the proximity of the crimes — and the fact that this hasn’t happened in San Bruno before — police Chief Neil Telford said there is good reason to believe the thefts are related.

Elston and Spyglass drives are relatively near each other, but Masson is not, located closer to downtown.

Trucks and SUVs are especially juicy targets because they are raised higher from the ground and offer better access to the devices.

Because a thief would need to do some serious cutting of the exhaust system in order to extract a catalytic converter, Telford asks anyone who spots the crime in progress to phone the San Bruno Police Department at (650) 616-7100.

tramroop@examiner.com

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