Police: Thieves targeting car parts at UCI

Five catalytic converters have been stolen from older-model Honda Accords parked at UC Irvine, police said Wednesday.

The thefts started a little more than a week ago, mostly in the afternoon and evening, said UCI Police Lt. Joe Reiss.

It only takes a few seconds to get the converters off the car. The parts reduce the toxicity of emissions from a vehicle's engine, according to a UCI police news release.

Catalytic converters are targeted by thieves because they contain small amounts of platinum, palladium and rhodium, which the New York Times in 2008 termed "metals more precious than gold."

Police recommend drivers park in well-lighted areas with lots of traffic.

"Don't park in the boonies," Reiss said, adding that drivers should be aware of their surroundings and call police if they see anything suspicious.

Anyone with information about the thefts can contact Cpl. Benny Green at (949) 824-5223 or bgreen@uci.edu.

— Jamie Rowe

Twitter: @jamierowe3

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