Prius catalytic converters stolen in Carmel Valley

Theft of the catalytic converters from Prius cars has been a rising trend in the city.
Theft of the catalytic converters from Prius cars has been a rising trend in the city.
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Carmel Valley Prius owners have been impacted by the unsettling theft of the catalytic converters from their cars, a rising trend in the city. Thieves are increasingly targeting the part for the valuable metal materials. In 2020 there were 80 catalytic converter thefts throughout the city of San Diego and North County’s Northwestern Division, which includes Carmel Valley, had 15 of those.

On Jan. 6, Carmel Valley resident Lori Maloney had her Prius’ catalytic converter stolen for the second time in 11 months. The first theft occurred last February when the car was parked on the street. This month, it was parked in her driveway.

When she posted an alert on the Nextdoor app, she found many other Prius owners were effected in the early morning hours of Jan. 6.

“It is unsettling to get into the locked, alarm-armed vehicle and hear a horrible noise coming from beneath the vehicle, especially if you don’t know what it is,” Maloney said. “The part is very expensive (almost $3,000) to replace, and it’s very inconvenient for those that rely on that vehicle. Luckily, we have insurance and another vehicle while the Prius will be towed for repair because it is undriveable.”

Following the second theft, Maloney has installed a new security camera and a security shield over the part to hopefully prevent further thefts. The preventative shields run about $160-$190.

According to Officer John Briggs, community relations officer for the Northwestern Division, all workable crimes are investigated.

“We encourage anyone who has their catalytic converter stolen to please report it as there may be cases out there that have not been reported,” Briggs said.

Contact Northwestern at or the non-emergency line at (858) 523-7000.