Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters From Dozens of School Busses in Riverside

Catalytic converter (CC) theft has been called a nationwide epidemic. CC thefts increased from an average of 108 per month in 2018 to 2,347 in December 2020. Now the trend is hitting schools.

Forty-three school busses belonging to the Riverside Unified School District had their CCs stolen over the Thanksgiving weekend. The busses were being housed in a storage lot in Jurupa Valley.

The district was forced to deploy additional buses and double up on bus routes after the theft, according to Deputy Superintendent Tim Walker. First Student spokesperson Jen Biddinger told the Press-Enterprise that the repairs would be handled swiftly by the school and that the busses would be up and running quickly. 

The average CC costs about $1,000 to replace. Some jurisdictions have come up with creative ideas to prevent the theft. In Chula Vista, police have been engraving CCs for free through a partnership with Wheel Depot.