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Car Parts Tempt California Crooks in Search of a Quick Buck

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car theft

Police and mechanics in Southern California have noted a recent uptick in an especially irritating form of auto theft — instead of stealing the entire car, crooks have been snatching individual parts to sell.

Catalytic converters are an especially popular part for thieves, who will often cut them out with a saw. Other desirable options to steal include third-row seats, stereo equipment, batteries, wheels, and exhaust components.

Thieves can turn around and sell these parts for scrap or at a “chop shop” that deals in stolen vehicle parts.

Stolen auto parts generally aren’t traceable, making them easier to sell than an entire swiped vehicle. Recent laws have made it more difficult to sell scrap anonymously, but for many criminals, the payoff is still worth the risk of getting caught.

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Catalytic Converter
Catalytic converters are popular targets for car thieves
Photo: Ballista

Police say Southern California is ideally situated for auto-part thieves. With the region’s ports, extensive highway system, and proximity to the Mexican border, thieves have many options for moving quickly from place to place and hauling their ill-gotten gains to wherever there’s a buyer.

Unfortunately, any unattended vehicle can be an inviting target for a resourceful thief. However, you can still take precautions to make your car less tempting.

Locking your doors, keeping valuables hidden (or better yet, out of your vehicle altogether), and parking in a protected location are easy ways to shield your vehicle from theft. Devices like car alarms, trackers, and locks can help deter crooks, too. And, of course, it’s important to carry adequate insurance on your vehicle in case these methods fail.

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News Source: The Orange County Register