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Posted on: January 3, 2022

Catalytic converter theft prevention tips

Catalytic Converters

There has been an increase in catalytic converter thefts in Ramsey County, the entire metro area and nationwide. Targeted vehicles include Toyota Prius, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, all types of Hondas, and trucks/sport utility vehicles with higher ground clearance.

Required on all fuel-powered vehicles manufactured after 1974, catalytic converters are designed to act as a line of defense against harmful exhaust system emissions by turning pollutants into harmless gasses. Thieves target catalytic converters because they contain precious metals, like platinum, palladium or rhodium, which are valuable to metal dealers. Thieves can sell them to scrap yards for $50 to $200, while it can cost the victim $800 to $5,000 to replace. Catalytic converter theft has become popular because of their value, relative ease to steal (unbolt or cut out), and their lack of identifying markings. The lack of identification makes it difficult to identify victims and successfully apprehend and prosecute criminals.

Theft of catalytic converters is hard to stop, but the following tips help to deter & prevent catalytic converter theft:

• Park in your garage or enclosed, secured parking area. If you park your vehicle in the driveway, motion detector lights or continuous lights illuminating your driveway will be a deterrent.

• Always park in well-lighted areas.

• At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close to the entrance of the building or near the access road where there is a lot of traffic and pedestrian activity.

• If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that is busy during the day and secured at night.

• Purchase a vehicle security system and make sure it is set to trigger with just the slightest motion. Use your alarm system.

• Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame.

• Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or online.

• Engrave your license plate number or VIN on the converter to make it traceable.

• Paint your converter using a high-temperature fluorescent orange or bright paint, such as those sprayed on barbecue grills, on your catalytic converter and then inscribing your vehicle identification number in the painted surface. This makes it traceable, and in theory at least, a reputable scrap metal dealer might decline to buy it.

• Educate your friends and neighbors about catalytic converter theft so they can be a look-out too.

• When you see suspicious activity, call the police right away. If you see a suspicious person under a vehicle, chances are they are attempting to steal the catalytic converter. Get the suspect(s) and/or suspect vehicle descriptions if possible. Write down the license plate if you can safely.

• If you become a victim of theft, please call 911 and report it.

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