Suspects wanted for the theft of a catalytic converter from a vehicle in Anaheim were on the loose Tuesday morning.

Police responded about 12:35 a.m. to the 1100 block of South Sunkist Street and saw an unknown number of suspects running from the scene and the converter missing from a vehicle. None were taken into custody.

The Anaheim Police Department’s Auto Theft Detail was scheduled to take over the investigation later Tuesday morning.

A news photographer at the scene said the vehicle involved was an older-model Honda SUV, and video showed the converter missing from the undercarriage of the SUV.

There has been a spate of catalytic converter thefts in Orange and Los Angeles counties in recent months, with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reporting a 400% increase in such thefts in 2020.

In March, a sting operation conducted by the LASD resulted in the arrest of 19 people and the recovery of 250 catalytic converters.

Earlier this year, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department warned residents of the rise in such thefts due to the precious metals inside converters that can be sold or recycled.

Authorities recommend having your vehicle’s license plate number etched onto your catalytic converter as one way to protect it from being stolen.

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