By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón says he is reaching to car manufacturers in an effort to deter catalytic converter thefts.

Catalytic converters, which are used to turn hazardous exhaust from an automobile into less harmful gases, are a big ticket item for thieves because they are made of highly valuable metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium. A catalytic converter can fetch up to $1,000 each, and California is among the top five states in the nation for such thefts, Gascón’s office said.

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Deputy Jaime Moran from the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department engraves the catalytic converter of a vehicle with a traceable number on July 14, 2021, in City of Industry, California. – Theft of catalytic converters across the US have soared over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, valuable to scrap metal dealers for the precious metals including rhodium, platinum and palladium. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

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“Catalytic converters are quick and easy to steal, and thieves can quickly turn them into cash,” Gascón said in a statement. “In addition, the lack of unique identifiers makes it virtually impossible to prove in court that a particular catalytic converter was stolen.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has responded to the rise in thefts by working with auto shops to etch catalytic converters with a unique identifying number, at no cost to the vehicle’s owner. But Gascón is hoping by reaching out to car manufacturers, a solution can be found to nip the problem in the bud.

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To date, only Torrance-based Honda has expressed interest in exploring possible solution to reduct these theft, Gascón’ss office said. But he is urging all of the nation’s manufacturers to work with him “to develop creative and inexpensive solutions to substantially prevent these crimes from occurring and reduce the likelihood of victimization in Los Angeles County and the rest of the nation.”