SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — With catalytic converter thefts rising around the Bay Area, the City of South San Francisco passed an ordinance Tuesday to attempt to address the issue. Possessing a used catalytic converter is now illegal in the city, it announced in a press release.

“Stolen catalytic converters are a state-wide issue, and it’s an issue that continues to plague our community, and it’s not something we will not tolerate,” said South San Francisco Mayor Mark Nagales. “It was important for us as a City Council to address this issue head-on and give our police officers more tools in their toolbox to combat these senseless crimes.”

Between January 2021 and June 2022, the South San Francisco Police Department said it has investigated 433 cases of stolen catalytic converters. The new ordinance will allow officers to charge people for the possession of used catalytic converters, rather than forcing police to catch thieves in the act of stealing one.

On Thursday, South San Francisco police officers found 14 catalytic converters in a vehicle after getting a report of a catalytic converter theft. The theft was reported on the 2200 block of Shannon drive and one suspect was arrested after a chase. Police found a portable saw, car jack and stolen license plate along with the catalytic converters.

“Our City Council recognizes that catalytic converter thefts are a problem because of the unique challenges in enforcing and prosecuting people conducting these crimes, so we appreciate having the ability to enforce the law by apprehending people who have used catalytic converters in their possession,” said South San Francisco Police Chief Scott Campbell.

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To possess a used catalytic converter that is attached to a vehicle, one must have valid documentation to prove lawful ownership of the device. A person caught with a used catalytic converter faces a misdemeanor charge, which can include a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to six months or both.