Thieves stole catalytic converters from several San Francisco Police Department vehicles this week outside the department’s Special Operations Bureau, the latest shocking crime that has highlighted the ongoing public safety crisis in the city.
Catalytic converters are attractive targets for thieves because they contain small amounts of precious metals to filter pollutants from exhaust. However, thefts typically occur on quiet residential streets in the middle of the night — and do not target police.
Mission Local reported that the theft had occurred in an area “saturated with cops”:
“On September 12, 2022, at approximately 1 p.m., a San Francisco Police Officer discovered a marked police truck parked in the area of 16th Street and De Haro Street had its catalytic converter stolen,” the SFPD media relations department confirmed. “The officer inspected other police vehicles, and discovered that another marked police truck and two marked police vans also had their catalytic converters stolen.”
The theft was especially brazen because it took place just outside the Special Operations Bureau building at 17th and DeHaro, which houses the SWAT Team and Bomb Squad. And, while there is no sign proclaiming this a police structure, it is, unsubtly, surrounded by many police vehicles. Along DeHaro and at a parking lot entrance on nearby Carolina Street, signs note, “police vehicles only.”
“The people engaging in this activity really don’t think much of the police if they think they can steal catalytic converters from the best of us,” said an SFPD higher-up.
Catalytic converter theft is a major problem in San Francisco. On Thursday, the police department reported that it arrested one suspect in another theft, not related to the police vehicle incident, after an aggressive pursuit that involved multiple collisions.
In August, two roommates told the San Francisco Chronicle that they had caught a catalytic converter thief red-handed in the middle of the night — and that San Francisco Police Department let him go, even giving him directions to a nearby bus stop.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.