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UPDATE: Man escapes after hit-and-run crash, catalytic converter theft attempt

Posted: February 11, 2014 2:49 p.m.
Updated: February 11, 2014 6:39 p.m.

A thief trying to steal a catalytic converter in Canyon Country on Tuesday was surprised by the car’s owner and failed to grab the device, then got into a hit-and-run collision trying to flee the scene, sheriff’s officials said.

The man managed to make good his escape, and Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies were searching Tuesday night for a blue 2004 Chevrolet Silverado. The suspect was described as a white man between 17 and 24 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing 160 pounds, wearing a black baseball hat and black T-shirt with white lettering.

Deputies were sent to the scene of the crash at Soledad Canyon Road and Honby Avenue about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday and learned of the theft attempt, Lt. Mark Hershey said.

The thief snipped the catalytic converter from a car but took off when the car’s owner spotted him. The car owner recovered the severed equipment, a sheriff’s deputy said.

The Silverado was last seen traveling north on Honby.

A catalytic converter is a vehicle emissions control device. It’s located in front of the vehicle’s muffler and converts toxic pollutants in exhaust gas to less toxic pollutants.

Law enforcement officials have seen a rash of catalytic converter thefts recently. The devices, which are coveted for the valuable metals they contain, sell for $40 to $200 each.

On Sunday, officers at the West Valley station of the Los Angeles Police Department issued an advisory warning car owners about catalytic converter thefts.

“Thieves have been removing victims’ catalytic converters from their vehicles,” they said in their advisory.

There are three types of metals that help the catalytic converter remove toxins from vehicles’ emissions: platinum, palladium and rhodium. It’s the tiny amount of these expensive metals inside catalytic converters that makes them valuable.

A series of catalytic converter thefts occurred in the Santa Clarita Valley during the summer of 2011.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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