The increase in catalytic converter thefts in California has been, in a word, exhausting.

Listen to these numbers: in Los Angeles alone, nearly 8,000 catalytic converter components have been stolen — an eye-popping 728 percent increase since 2018.

In response to this madness, the Los Angeles City Council passed a motion on an 8 to 4 vote that would make it unlawful for any person to possess a detached catalytic converter unless valid documentation or other proof of lawful possession can be produced.

Who could possibly be opposed to making possession of a stolen catalytic converter a crime? My guess would be far-left prosecutors, their ideological clones on the city council, and potentially, Craig’s List.

Turns out, I’m right! Apologists for converter thieves say it’s the manufacturers’ fault for making them too easy to steal. Maybe every catalytic converter should be under lock and key in a glass case like the merchandise at CVS.

At a town hall event explaining her vote, Democratic L.A. Councilwoman Nithya Raman placed all of the blame on … Toyota!

“In this case, I think one of the things that infuriates me is that we have a company — whatever, Toyota — who makes the Prius, that essentially has a device on their cars which is super easy to remove. It’s basically the value of a MacBook, right?” said Raman.

“That is put in a place that is incredibly easy to access in your car, and the thefts related to this issue have essentially — all of the costs of that — are given to us to bear instead of them [Toyota] having to manufacture a car that actually is not so easy to be stolen.”

You heard her right, instead of blaming car thieves, Raman is blaming the manufacturers and car owners for making car theft too easy.

If that’s not crazy enough, “abolish the police” councilwoman, and fellow Democrat, Eunises Hernandez, took it a step further.

Hernandez said, “Criminalizing the mere possession of a catalytic converter, I think is the wrong way to go, because we know which communities are gonna be the ones most criminalized because of this; This makes it a misdemeanor, it creates a fine of $1000, you can go to jail for six months. Even a short incarceration of a couple of days can destabilize someone’s life forever, and leads to collateral consequences that they have to carry until they can get an expungement, if they can get that … I’m not in agreement with creating more opportunities to criminalize our communities.”

Oh boy.

Arresting thieves and other bad guys used to be called “police work.”  Now it’s called “criminalizing certain communities.”

Let’s get real, if some guy has a garage full of used catalytic converters, chances are he’s a criminal, and not just some weird collector.

And then there’s the nonsensical claim that a short incarceration can destabilize a person’s life.  Right.  Because car thieves and muffler boosters have such stable lives to begin with.


This insanity isn’t just going on at the LA city level, either. It’s also going on in Sacramento.

Car thefts have skyrocketed in California.

Thefts of Hyundai and Kia cars rose by 85 percent year-over-year in California in 2022, and have made up 38 percent of all vehicle thefts in Berkeley since the start of 2023.

In response to this our elected leaders are doing two things: waiting for Carvana to declare bankruptcy, and – you guessed it – blaming the automakers!

In a prepared statement, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, and potential Democratic candidate for governor, wrote, “Hyundai and Kia made a decision to forgo a standard safety feature that would help protect owners’ investments, and now their customers are paying the price…It’s time for Hyundai and Kia to take responsibility for their poor decision which is hurting American families and putting public safety at risk.”

God forbid we blame the criminals.

Unless and until California voters stop electing these clowns to office, our government will continue to bend over backward to defend the thieves who steal our catalytic converters and our cars.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.


Author: John Phillips, Orange County Register, May 9, 2023