A viral video has resurfaced revealing Los Angeles council member Nithya Raman blaming Toyota for the increasing catalytic-converter theft ravaging the city - while opposing a motion to hold criminals accountable

A viral video has resurfaced revealing Los Angeles council member Nithya Raman blaming Toyota for the increasing catalytic-converter theft ravaging the city – while opposing a motion to hold criminals accountable. 

Raman, who has been a member of the City Council since 2020, placed the blame on Toyota, accusing the car company of making their cars so ‘easy to steal.’

The 2023 video garnered widespread criticism as residents accuse LA democrats of neglecting to target thieves as crime – in particular car theft – continues to surge.

This comes as the latest victim, actor and General Hospital star, Johnny Wactor, was shot and killed on Saturday in LA when he confronted thieves breaking into his car attempting to steal a catalytic converter. He was 37. 

In 2023, the issue was already eye-popping – with nearly 8,000 catalytic converter components stolen within the year, a staggering 728 percent increase from 2018.

To tackle this issue, LA City Council passed a motion at the time on an 8-4 vote, making it illegal for a person to possess a detached catalytic converter unless valid documentation or other proof of lawful possession can be presented.

A viral video has resurfaced revealing Los Angeles council member Nithya Raman blaming Toyota for the increasing catalytic-converter theft ravaging the city - while opposing a motion to hold criminals accountable

A viral video has resurfaced revealing Los Angeles council member Nithya Raman blaming Toyota for the increasing catalytic-converter theft ravaging the city – while opposing a motion to hold criminals accountable

This comes as the latest victim, actor and General Hospital star, Johnny Wactor, was shot and killed on Saturday in LA when he confronted thieves breaking into his car attempting to steal a catalytic converter

This comes as the latest victim, actor and General Hospital star, Johnny Wactor, was shot and killed on Saturday in LA when he confronted thieves breaking into his car attempting to steal a catalytic converter

But Raman opposed this motion, and placed the blame on the car company, Toyota, claiming they should not make their car so ‘easy to steal.’ 

‘In this case, I think one of the things that infuriates me is that we have a company — whatever, Toyota — who makes the Prius, that essentially has a device on their cars which is super easy to remove. It’s basically the value of a MacBook, right?’ said Raman in the 2023 Council meeting.

‘That is put in a place that is incredibly easy to access in your car, and the thefts related to this issue have essentially — all of the costs of that — are given to us to bear instead of them [Toyota] having to manufacture a car that actually is not so easy to be stolen,’ she continued. 

A fellow democrat, Eunises Hernandez, agreed and went as far as to say the motion is racist. 

Hernandez said, ‘Criminalizing the mere possession of a catalytic converter, I think is the wrong way to go, because we know which communities are gonna be the ones most criminalized because of this; This makes it a misdemeanor, it creates a fine of $1000, you can go to jail for six months.’

‘Even a short incarceration of a couple of days can destabilize someone’s life forever, and leads to collateral consequences that they have to carry until they can get an expungement, if they can get that … I’m not in agreement with creating more opportunities to criminalize our communities,’ Hernandez continued.   

According to a KTLA report, police officers reported to the area of Pico Boulevard and Hope Street around 3:25am

Around 600,000 catalytic converters are stolen each year. Most cars are equipped with one converter but those with a dual exhaust system require two. Larger vehicles such as SUVs and trucks may have more than two.

According to the New York Times, stolen catalytic converters are passed through ‘middlemen, smelters and refineries in the United States and overseas.’ They can be stolen in under a minute and cost around $1,000 to replace.

LA has seen a sharp increase in car thefts since the Covid-19 pandemic – with the rate of thefts increasing every year since 2019.   

There were more than 25,000 auto thefts across the city in 2023, a staggering 64 percent increase as compared to pre-pandemic numbers. 

The LAPD reported Friday that, as of the end of April, the city’s rise in the number of murders in 2024 continued to decline and, as of April 27, was only 4.2 percent above the number of murders reported at this time in 2023, NBC Los Angeles reported. 

The last time the force updated robbery statistics, at the end of March 2024, thefts were up 9.5 percent, according to ABC 7.     

Wactor, who appeared in 164 episodes of the soap opera from 2020 to 2022, was leaving his side job at a rooftop bar with a female colleague at around 3:25am Saturday in the area of West Pico Boulevard and South Hope Street, when he saw the three men, believing he was being towed.

Police said that one of the three men, all of whom were wearing masks, shot Wactor before fleeing in a separate vehicle.

Paramedics got to the scene shortly after and took him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The masked suspects remain at large and have yet to be identified or described.

Wactor's mother Scarlett told TMZ that her son saw three men trying to steal the catalytic converter off of his car

Wactor’s mother Scarlett told TMZ that her son saw three men trying to steal the catalytic converter off of his car

Scarlett Wactor, Johnny’s mother, said that her son didn’t attempt to fight them or even stop them from stealing but they still shot him and got away.

Johnny’s younger brother Grant confirmed to DailyMail.com that Johnny was shot in the chest as he came upon the suspects who were trying to steal the catalytic converter from his truck.

He said his brother and his co-worker had to park about two blocks from the restaurant, so they were walking to their cars after they finished their shift.

Grant said they were brought up as ‘Southern gentlemen,’ so he was not surprised his older brother was walking his female co-worker to her car.

‘We’re Southern, born and raised, and we would never let a female walk to their car by herself.’

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