What's behind the rise in catalytic converter thefts? | WHEC.com

What's behind the rise in catalytic converter thefts?

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: January 29, 2021 11:09 PM
Created: January 29, 2021 08:58 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — It's a theft problem that seems to be on the rise once again. The target, catalytic converters found underneath every vehicle on the road. News10NBC found out what makes them so attractive to those who steal them.

Gates Police say Thursday night alone they investigated the theft of eight catalytic converters that were stolen from a group of RTS buses. The heist is estimated to cost $11,000 to repair. Auto body shop owner Vasko Daskalovski is a victim as well. For two weeks now, someone has been stealing from vehicles at his shop. A telltale sign alerted him that his converters were missing.

"I started up one vehicle. I see it's loud, and I checked my other vehicles, same thing. I checked under the vehicle I see on all my five vehicles somebody cut out the converters," Daskalovski said.

A catalytic converter is an emission control device that helps clean up the exhaust emissions coming out of the engine. Dennis Williams, owner of My-Tee Automotive says replacing one that's been stolen can be pretty pricey.

"You could be looking at you know somewhere upward of $3,000 to $4,000 by the time you're done depending on the vehicle," Williams said.

For many years now thieves have been stealing them for the precious metals found in them. Metals such as platinum.

"There's rhodium, strontium, and a few others in there that I don't remember the names of, but there's like four precious metals, sometimes five in each converter," Williams added.

Scrap yards pay anywhere from $30 on up.

"Their scrap value is very high. So people cut them off, take them to scrap yards, and trade them for maybe a couple of hundred dollars," Williams said. 

Auto mechanics believe there's one way to help stop the thefts of this particular part of a vehicle's exhaust system.

"If somebody goes to the junkyard to sell any converters, you need to go with ID or whatever, you know," Daskalovski said.

Cars in the State of New York have been required to be equipped with a catalytic converter since the 1980s. Each vehicle needs one to pass inspection.

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