By CBSLA Staff

SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) – Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies Wednesday arrested 19 suspects and recovered 250 stolen catalytic converters after serving search warrants at four locations.

The multi-agency operation was aimed at reducing the theft of the pollution devices attached to the exhaust systems of vehicles which increased 400% in Los Angeles County in 2020, said Natalie Arriaga of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

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The recovered catalytic converters were valued at about $750,000, Arriaga said. Deputies also seized about $100,000 and an unregistered or “ghost” gun.

People whose catalytic converters were recently stolen or people with information on thefts were urged to contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121.

The sheriff’s department offered these suggestions to attempt to prevent thieves from taking catalytic converters:

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– park in well-lit areas with surveillance cameras;

– weld the bolts on catalytic converters shut;

– engrave or etch the vehicle’s license plate number onto the catalytic converter; and

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– always report suspicious activity.