This article was originally written in 2013 and recently updated due to a skyrocketing increase in catalytic converter theft since.
In the several years following (2013-2018), catalytic converter theft kind of died down. Now (since 2020), thefts of catalytic converters are at all time highs.
Catalytic Converter Thefts Skyrocket Across the Nation
Thieves are ripping catalytic converters from cars at an increasing rate. And as they do, theft victims are finding they need to fix an unexpected problem that costs upwards of several thousands of dollars. According to a report by NICB, the increase in catalytic converter thefts has been dramatic. In 2018, there were 1,298 catalytic converter thefts for which a claim was filed. In 2019, it was 3,389 thefts with a claim. In 2020, catalytic converter theft claims jumped massively to 14,433, a 325% increase in a single year. — (NICB)
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Catalytic converter thefts skyrocket in RI as police and lawmakers try to crack down
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Halloween, three men appeared in Justin Boyan’s driveway on College Hill. Surveillance video from Boyan’s home camera shows two of the men approach his Toyota Prius, while the third appears to guard the door to the house. Quickly, one man jacks up the car while the other uses a power saw to cut out Boyan’s catalytic converter, a piece of the exhaust system. One minute and 20 seconds after arriving, the men were driving away. — (WPRI)
Aside form commercial vehicles, the following passenger vehicles are the most likely targets for catalytic converter theft:
- 1985-2021 Ford F-Series
- 1989-2020 Honda Accord
- 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
- 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
- 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
- 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
- 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
- 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
- 2011-17 Chrysler 200
- 2001-21 Toyota Prius
Original article from 2013:
Stealing catalytic converters has become a common problem for car owners and car dealers on Cape Cod in recent weeks. Several motorists parked at the Sagamore Commuter Lot have had their catalytic converters stolen from underneath their trucks or sport utility vehicles.
Last week, six catalytic converters were stolen from a pile of used car parts at Cataumet Auto Sales on Route 28. At Hyannis Toyota, 11 converters were stolen from trucks and SUVs parked in the display lot. So far, mechanics at Battles Used Car and Truck Sales on MacArthur Boulevard in Bourne have found at least one vehicle has had its catalytic converter swiped.
According to mechanics and car salvage dealers, thieves target catalytic converters because they contain the precious metals platinum, rhodium, and palladium. At the close of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday afternoon, rhodium was valued at $9,000 per ounce, nearly 10 times the value of gold. Platinum is valued at more than $2,000 per ounce, and palladium is worth $550 per ounce.
There are only small amounts of each metal found in the catalytic converters, but thieves can still sell them to discreet junk dealers for $100 a pop. The cost to car owners, however, is much greater.