San Mateo Police Warn of Catalytic Converter Thefts

Catalytic converters can net thieves between $100 to $150.

The San Mateo Police Department is warning residents of catalytic converter thefts in the Aragon area of San Mateo.

Although only two have been reported to San Mateo police in the area, the theft of catalytic converters is experiencing a nationwide crime trend, according to the Police Department.

Catalytic converters utilize precious metals to reduce the danger of vehicle emissions. These metals are valuable and can return thieves $100 to $150 each at scrap yards. Replacement costs can reach up to $1000.

Vehicles with high ground clearance, including SUVs and trucks, are especially vulnerable to thieves who crawl under these vehicles late at night and quickly cut the converters from a vehicle’s undercarriage with a battery-operated saw.

Often when reported to San Mateo police, thefts of catalytic converters are referred to the department's Online Reporting System.

SMPD urges the community to please FOLLOW THROUGH when referred to online reporting. These reports are included in the department's crime trend analysis, and patterns are reviewed by detectives.


  • As always, SMPD reminds the community that you are our “eyes and ears” – report suspicious activity immediately, so that we can respond quickly to identify suspects and prevent further crime.
  • Call SMPD via 911, or 650-522-7700
  • DO NOT use online SMPD services for in-progress crimes – call us directly!
  • If you have a vehicle with high ground clearance like a truck or SUV, park in your garage or driveway if you can, and invest in motion-sensing driveway lights as a deterrent to late-night theft.
  • Remember to lock your vehicles and remove or conceal valuables to prevent other theft activity.


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