Four clearly marked police cars in the San Francisco Police Department fleet were relieved of their catalytic converters this week by scrap metal thieves looking to make a quick buck.
Even though this theft occurred in front of a police building in broad daylight, no one is optimistic that the thieves will be caught. One veteran of the force told Mission Local this wasn’t even the first theft from police vehicle at this location:
“On September 12, 2022 at approximately 1 p.m., a San Francisco Police Officer discovered a marked police truck parked in the area of 16th Street and De Haro Street had its catalytic converter stolen,” confirmed the SFPD media relations department. “The officer inspected other police vehicles, and discovered that another marked police truck and two marked police vans also had their catalytic converters stolen.”
The theft was especially brazen because it took place just outside the Special Operations Bureau building at 17th and DeHaro, which houses the SWAT Team and Bomb Squad. And while there is no sign proclaiming this a police structure, it is, unsubtly, surrounded by many police vehicles. Along DeHaro and at a parking lot entrance on nearby Carolina Street, signs note “police vehicles only.”
“The people engaging in this activity really don’t think much of the police if they think they can steal catalytic converters from the best of us,” said an SFPD higher-up.
San Francisco is no stranger to catalytic converter thieves. Last year, a major insurance adjustor released a startling report that such thefts jumped 175 percent from 2020 to 2021. Thieves on the west coast have no compunction about what municipal vehicles may suffer for there ill-gotten gains. Thieves in Oregon hit 19 school buses, causing $70,000 worth of damage. In Seattle, some cat thieves shot at concerned citizens trying to stop some on-the-street thefts.