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Say What? Catalytic Converter Theft Incidents Rise in Early 2021! How Can You Protect Your Car?  

Catalytic Converter Theft

The early part of 2021 is seeing a rise in catalytic converter theft occurrences. Staggering unemployment coupled with the ease of committing the crime and metal prices, then you have the makings of an offense that can net hundreds of dollars for thieves. Let’s examine exactly why catalytic converter theft incidents are rising and how you can keep your vehicle safe! 

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Why Are the Thieves Going After Catalytic Converters In Early 2021? 

Law enforcement sectors across the country are putting car owners on notice that catalytic converter thefts are on the rise. From the prices of metal, coupled with high unemployment, thieves are turning to stealing catalytic converters for some quick money. Additionally: 

  • Law enforcement regions all over the country are reporting a rise in catalytic converter thefts. 
  • Police around the country are stating that the crime is happening in both urban as well as suburban areas. 
  • Authorities say that stealing a catalytic converter is quite easy with the correct tools. 

Catalytic Converter Theft Denver – Police In Denver Report a Spike in Cases 

Back in February of 2021, the owner of a Toyota Prius in the Denver area got into her car, turned the ignition and her vehicle sounded unusually loud. Equating the sound to that of a motorcycle, the Denver resident immediately knew that she had been the victim of a catalytic converter theft. Reports indicate that the city of Denver has seen a year-long spike of 1,600% of catalytic converter theft incidents.  

Back in 2019, there were over a dozen catalytic converter thefts documented from the Denver Police Department. In January of 2021, over 100 were stolen- a figure that is almost half of 2020’s total. While the part is sold for a few hundred dollars, it generally costs car owners about $1000 to replace. Authorities in Colorado say that since the price of metal saw a spike in early 2021, the catalytic converter is a prized car part to swipe and steal. 

Catalytic Converters Are Vital Car Components 

Colorado authorities also add that catalytic converters are on every vehicle that’s purchased. In Colorado, car owners have to register their vehicles, and pass emissions with a good working catalytic converter.  The component is vital in helping to reduce the toxins that are emitted from a car. A catalytic converter helps to convert over half of the carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons from an engine – into less toxic water vapor, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Auto experts also add that the price for selling a catalytic converter is about $300 depending on its size. To repair a car that needs a catalytic converter can cost the car owner up to $2,500, or more, depending on the make, model and year of the car. 


Catalytic Converter Theft Seattle – Washington State Sees Spike in Thefts! 

Not only is the city of Denver dealing with a spike in catalytic converter theft occurrences but the city of Seattle and other areas in the state of Washington are seeing rises in the common crime.  A senior center in Bothell Washington has fallen victim to catalytic converter thefts. In fact, reports state that when works arrived at the center to get to work driving the senior center’s buses, they soon discovered that thieves swiped catalytic converters from seven senior center buses. As they worked to figure out how they would be able to deliver meals to seniors in need, they filed the necessary documents to report the crime to the authorities. 

Seattle Sees High Numbers of Catalytic Converter Thefts 

The city of Seattle is continuing to deal with explosive numbers of catalytic converter thefts. Back in 2019, there were only 13 catalytic converter thefts reported. But in 2020 that number expanded to over 700 thefts reported! As Washington state authorities continue to figure out how they can help protect residents, they also point to the price of metal in early 2021 as a huge reason that catalytic converter thefts are happening. Investigators add that the valuable and rare metals that are inside of the catalytic converter make it a hot commodity. From the palladium, rhodium and the platinum that a catalytic converter has, catalytic converter thefts are rising with no signs of stopping. 

Catalytic Converter Thefts Exploding In Fresno 

If Denver and Seattle were not enough, the city of Fresno is seeing a spike in catalytic converter thefts too. Investigators there say that thieves are stealing catalytic converters on vehicles because they are worth lots of money- thanks to the price of metal in early 2021.  


Catalytic Converter Theft Prius- The Poplar Toyota Vehicle Is Plagued With Thefts! 


Authorities in Fresno County also point to the fact that back in October and November of 2020, they begin seeing a huge jump in catalytic converters being stolen out of Toyota Priuses. Local police stated that they saw about a dozen in the months that led up to the 2021 year.  

Catalytic Converter Theft – A “Specialized Crime” 

Fresno County authorities say that as they grapple with the numerous catalytic converter thefts, they call the common crime a “specialized crime”.  Authorities say that thieves these days have a great idea of what they are doing. Hybrid and electric vehicles — Toyota Priuses for example — are vehicles that are huge targets for thieves. Why? Well, they can steal them and make a quick $2,000. 


Where Are Thieves Taking Stolen Catalytic Converters? 

While victims of the crime think that the stolen catalytic converters are being taken to scrap yards and junkyards, police say think again. According to authorities, thieves are very sophisticated these days and the stolen catalytic converters are part of larger networks of auto shops that purchase the stolen catalytic converters and then sell them as used parts.  Police also add that numerous auto shops that purchase the stolen catalytic converters work in unison with the thieves. Authorities say that they are not using vendors to buy catalytic converters; they are working a “side hustle” of purchasing stolen catalytic converters and then selling them to car owners. Officials also add that the catalytic converter thieves will be given a list as to how many catalytic converters to steal and bring them back to a participating auto shop. 

Kansas Authorities See Climb In Catalytic Converter Thefts 

If you thought that Kansas was immune to catalytic converter thefts, think again. Reports indicate that back in 2020, there were 500 catalytic converter theft occurrences that were documented. This figure was in direct comparison to 2019 when fewer than 200 were reported then.  Similar to Washington State, thieves in Kansas are targeting vehicles that transport senior citizens and the vital items that they need on a regular basis.  

Newtown, PA Issues A Warning To Residents About Catalytic Converter Thefts 

If you live in Newtown, PA, authorities want you to be aware of the rise of catalytic converter thefts happening there. Reports state that officials in Newtown captured a suspect who was caught on surveillance video stealing a catalytic converter from a car that was parked in an industrial plant. 

Vehicle Stolen While Left Running Car In Rochester, MN

In the middle of February 2021, a vehicle was reportedly stolen in Rochester, MN. Reports indicate that the owner of a 2013 Chevy Impala left his car running outside on a street. The owner cranked up the car and left it running in an effort to warm the vehicle up. But after some time, the owner told Rochester police that after he cranked up the car and left it there to warm up, the vehicle was stolen. Police were able to pinpoint the time to be between 4:40 and 4:50, a.m. Authorities say that the thieves saw that the car was running. One thief was possibly driving a car, when another thief got out of car and stole the car. Authorities say that it is highly likely that the thieves were looking to steal the catalytic converter. Rochester police say that they have seen a high number of catalytic converter thefts in recent months and believe that the Impala’s catalytic converter was the reason that the car was taken. Of course, it is likely that the thieves were looking to steal the component for some fast cash. Police are asking residents not to warm up their cars and leave them unattended. 

A Pair Of Alleged Catalytic Converter Thieves Are Arrested 

While the news about catalytic converter theft occurrences is not all grim, a pair of thieves believed to be operating a catalytic converter theft ring, were arrested. Back in February of 2021, Roseville, CA police arrested two thieves who they believe were in the process of stealing a catalytic converter from a vehicle. Additional reports indicate that someone heard some weird noises outside. The resident told Roseville police that the unusual noises sounded as if someone was using a saw to extract a part from a car. After looking outside, the resident then saw two people who looked like they were attempting to extract a catalytic converter from a vehicle. 

That resident then called the police and was able to provide a detailed description to authorities. Thanks to the quick thinking of the resident and the details that the resident provided, Roseville police were able to locate the car with the suspects. They also looked in the car and found tools, a floor jack and a catalytic converter in the back of the vehicle. The pair was then arrested. Authorities were also able to recover two stolen catalytic converters. 

Catalytic Converter Theft Protection – How Can You Not Become a Victim? 

Authorities around the country are offering tips to help you protect your vehicle as well as your catalytic converter from being stolen. They include: 

  • If you are able to park your car in a garage, please do so. Catalytic converter thefts take place when a car is left in a driveway or on a street. Even if it means that you have to clean out your garage, it will be well worth the cleaning so that you can store your car in the garage. This helps to prevent catalytic converter thefts drastically. 
  • Think about using a tool to engrave or inscribe your VIN (vehicle identification number) in your catalytic converter. Once done, take a video or a photo of it. 
  • If you see anyone selling these parts and they look a bit suspicious, call your police and provide them with as many details as you possibly can. For example, if you go to an auto parts store and you see a person with a basket of catalytic converters, alert your local police to the sale. The thieves are only successful if they are able to sell their catalytic converters. So, help keep crime down in your area and report suspicious activity when you see it or get word of it. 
  • If you find yourself needing a catalytic converter and someone looks to sell you one at a low price, then give that seller the side eye. If the deal sounds too good to be true… then it probably is. Walk the other way. 
  • If you decide to buy a catalytic converter at a parts shop, ask the manger or the employee if they can furnish you with the part before they place it in your vehicle. You should have a NEW catalytic converter being installed in your car. It is also a very good idea to bring your inscribing or engraving tool to the shop or ask to use the shop’s tool. You want to engrave that new catalytic converter with your VIN number. On the other hand of that, if you see a catalytic converter that has what appears to be a VIN number on it, then ask not to have that component installed in your car. 
  • Think about having your car’s alarm calibrated once it detects vibration. 

While replacing a catalytic converter is not cheap, you can take some steps to ensure that yours is not stolen. Times are different these days and there are people who want what you worked hard to attain and obtain. So, protect yourself and your vehicle. Report suspicious activity and safeguard your car as much as possible. And if you ever need to sell a car that is missing its catalytic converter, contact Cash Cars Buyer

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