Catalytic Converter thefts on the rise

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 4:17 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Surveillance footage from a homeowner in the Mira Loma/McCarran Boulevard area shows a male able to remove a catalytic converter from a parked car in three minutes. He uses a jack to lift the car, takes the converter, lowers the car and takes off.

The 2005 Prius is owned by Susan Robinson. She didn’t realize the converter was gone until she started her car.

“Very quiet car and when I put it in gear it was GRRR, turbo charged,” says Susan.

She filed a claim with her insurance company who told her catalytic converter claims are about all they handle these days.

“From $1300 to over $4,000, the range of prices was incredible,” she says of the replacement costs.

“That’s about correct,” says Jeff Pheasant.

A Master Mechanic owner Jeff Pheasant tells us the converters have a honeycomb like structure inside where the vehicle’s dirty exhaust it filtered. While that’s an important job, for thieves it’s what’s the honeycomb is made of that is important.

“They have iridium, rhodium and platinum,” he says of the converter. “And platinum is actually more valuable than gold is. And so that is why they get such top dollar from the recyclers,” says Pheasant.

Pheasant says in one day they received seven catalytic converter replacement appointments. It’s not a cheap fix. And Pheasant says with COVID, not all converters are available at this time.

There’s really no way to protect your catalytic converter. Pheasant says UHAUL places tags on their converters, it might slow someone down from stealing it he says. But it’s not fail safe.

Robinson says she wishes there were tougher laws so the converters couldn’t be sold easily as they are.

Until that happens....

“I have to clean the garage out. I will give the person that,” Susan says with a laugh.

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