Jay Leno Slams Soft-on-Crime LA After General Hospital Star Shot by Catalytic Converter Thieves

Jay Leno Slams Soft-on-Crime LA After General Hospital Star Shot by Catalytic Converter Thieves
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Leg­endary come­di­an and car enthu­si­ast Jay Leno has slammed the soft-on-crime approach in Los Ange­les after Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal star John­ny Wac­tor was shot dead by cat­alyt­ic con­vert­er thieves.

Wac­tor, 37, was leav­ing a side job at a rooftop bar in down­town LA on May 25 when he was con­front­ed by three men try­ing to steal the con­vert­er from his Toy­ota Prius. The soap star was fatal­ly shot by the masked sus­pects, who then fled the scene.

Leno told TMZ that the light penal­ty for cat­alyt­ic con­vert­er theft — a mis­de­meanor charge and fine of up to $1,000 — is “out­ra­geous” and a “slap on the wrist” that embold­ens the thieves. Cat­alyt­ic con­vert­ers can be a lucra­tive tar­get for crim­i­nals, with thieves able to make $25 to $1,400 per unit depend­ing on the vehicle.

In Cal­i­for­nia, steal­ing a con­vert­er val­ued under $950 is con­sid­ered a mis­de­meanor, which Leno says is the root of the prob­lem. He not­ed that car own­ers who remove their own con­vert­er can also face hefty fines, fur­ther exac­er­bat­ing the issue.

Cal­i­for­nia leads the nation in cat­alyt­ic con­vert­er thefts, with near­ly 15,000 report­ed in the last year alone. Cer­tain mod­els like the Toy­ota Prius, Ford F‑150, and Hon­da Accord are par­tic­u­lar­ly targeted.

Leno’s scathing com­ments high­light the need for tougher penal­ties to deter this grow­ing crime wave in Los Ange­les and beyond.

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