Catalytic converter thefts up sharply in area recently

Ron Craig

There has been an increasing number of thefts in the area of catalytic converters from the exhaust systems on the underside of vehicles. This theft can cost a vehicle owner hundreds of dollars to replace.
The reason for the thefts rests in the value of some of the components of the converters, including platinum, a very precious metal.
The converters resemble a small muffler on the exhaust system and are designed to remove some of the toxins from a vehicle’s exhaust before it can become part of the air around us.
The thieves usually work as a team to keep their time on the scene of the crime to a minimum. They carry sophisticated tools, such as high-speed battery-operated saws, to do the job very quickly and nearly effortlessly. Within a few minutes of arriving at the target vehicle, they have taken the converter and are back on the road.
Although it is rare, the thieves will sometimes target more than one vehicle in the same location. When this does occur, it is usually at a place there is little chance anyone is around to see or hear what is going on. One such place and time is a business that is closed for the day that has company vehicles parked outside.
When a converter theft occurs, the vehicle owner usually has no idea what has happened until he or she starts up the vehicle and hears the loud exhaust noise that emanates due to the missing converter.
Adding insult to injury, when the thieves cut off the converters, they may take parts of the exhaust system ahead of and behind the converter. This means the victim must replace other parts of the exhaust system in addition to the converter.
According to David Glawe, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, theft of converters has been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that the price of the precious metals harvested from the converters has increased sharply during this period, creating a larger demand for the devices.
The best way to prevent such thefts is to park a vehicle in a well-lit area if you can’t park it inside a locked garage. Thieves don’t like working in areas in which they can be easily seen. If you hear a strange noise, such as the sound of a saw cutting metal, call 9-1-1. Don’t approach the suspects as this could easily lead to you getting hurt or worse.
As always, keep an eye on your neighbors’ properties and immediately report any suspicious activity. I’m sure you would want your neighbors to do the same for you.

This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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