California Family Finds Unique Way To Stop Catalytic Converter Thieves

A California family caught catalytic converter thieves in the act, and chose to stop them from committing the crime by unleashing a barrage of paintballs at the two men.

As two men tried to steal catalytic converters from vehicles in a driveway in broad daylight, a few family members emerged from the home with paintball guns in hand.

Around 12:30 p.m. on October 4, the thieves were underneath a 2000 Ford Excursion in the family’s driveway, working on removing the vehicle’s catalytic converter, according to Sgt. Mike Parmley, a spokesperson for the Turlock Police Department.

A car alarm went off for a moment, but the thieves returned to their positions under the vehicle after the noise stopped.

All of a sudden, the popping sound of paintball guns being shot can be heard on the surveillance camera footage, as family members caught wind of the attempted theft and emerged from the home’s garage, shooting at the suspects.

The two men rush to get out from under the vehicle and race toward their getaway car, the whole time being pelted with paintballs.

Two shirtless and shoeless men are then seen on the footage chasing the thieves down with their paintball guns as they rush to get into a red car being driven by a third suspect.

“A frustrated resident of the home is captured on home surveillance shooting the two male suspects, multiple times, with a paintball gun,” Parmley told local news outlet KXTV.

Shockingly, this wasn’t the only time thieves had targeted the family’s vehicles — as they informed the Turlock Police Department that this was the seventh instance of attempted theft of their catalytic converters.instance of attempted theft of their catalytic converters. The family also noted that three of the attempted thefts had caused damage to their cars.

While law enforcement in red states like Florida has encouraged residents to defend their property, California police have advised against it.

“Despite having the right to defend your own property, these types of actions could be very unsafe. Upon confronting individuals committing crimes, their actions are often unpredictable and could lead to intervening citizens becoming victims of an assault or more serious crime,” Parmley said.

Anyone who has information about the suspects has been encouraged to contact Turlock Police Department officer Greg Roton at (209)-668-6536.

In recent years, catalytic converter theft has hit record highs.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has reported that there were 1,298 catalytic converter theft claims in 2018 and 3,389 claims in 2019. The number rose to a shocking 14,433 claims in 2020, an increase of 325%.

Catalytic converters contain precious metals — reportedly more valuable than gold — which can be sold for a significant amount of money.

“It’s platinum, palladium, and rhodium. You have platinum for around $800 or $900 an ounce. You have palladium for around $2,200 an ounce. You have rhodium that’s $18 to $20,000 an ounce,” scrap shop owner Dennis Laviage of C&D Scrap Metal told KTRK-TV back in April.

Police departments have been warning vehicle owners of the rise in thefts, and have suggested prevention methods such as installing an anti-theft device or etching the car’s VIN number into the catalytic converter.