Long Beach man shot after confronting catalytic converter thieves

·1 min read

A Long Beach man was shot on Tuesday after confronting people trying to steal a catalytic converter from the car in which he was sleeping, police said.

The man checked himself into a hospital with non-life threatening injuries to his upper body after the shooting in the 5400 block of East Ocean Boulevard, according to Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Allison Gallagher. Police were called to the hospital around 4:50 a.m.

The shooting victim and one other man were asleep in the vehicle when they were awakened by the sound of sawing coming from underneath, Gallagher said.

The victim got out of the car and saw several men trying to steal the catalytic converter, a component of a vehicle's emissions control system. When he confronted them, one of the suspects shot him and fled in a dark-colored sedan, Gallagher said.

Officials say the theft of catalytic converters has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with State Farm Insurance reporting in July that the crime was up 293% over the previous year. California leads all states in the number of thefts.

The converters are made from precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium that help reduce a vehicle's output of harmful exhaust.

Thieves can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars selling them to auto parts suppliers or scrapyards, experts say.

Los Angeles Dist. Atty. George Gascón in October called on automobile manufacturers to explore solutions to the problem.

“These thefts are costly to vehicle owners and result in higher insurance claims for us all,” Gascón said.

Gallagher said police and gang detectives are investigating the Long Beach incident.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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