Thieves Are Coveting Catalytic Converters

Across the country, law enforcement are seeing a spike in the theft of catalytic converters

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There is a crime wave happening nationwide, including here in North Texas, that you might not know about.

It's a spike in catalytic converter thefts.

Thieves can slither under your car, saw them off in seconds, then sell them.

At Don Herring Irving Mitsubishi, catalytic converters have been cut off 21 new cars in recent weeks.

“Very frustrating, but it’s more frustrating for us for our customers that are being bombarded by this,” said service manager Kevin Rogers.

Rogers said the average repair costs up to $3,500 and could take more than a month to fix because of a limited supply.

"If we didn't have this epidemic going on we would not have this supply issue," Rogers said.

Cars in every corner of North Texas are being hit.

In Plano, there've been so many stolen, police started a catalytic converter theft task force.

“They're out there on the streets right now, some in undercover vehicles, looking in parking lots where most of these are occurring because a lot of this is happening in broad daylight and the average person doesn't realize what's taking place,” said Plano police officer David Tilley.

In Rowlett last week, police said three men were arrested driving a vehicle that minutes earlier was involved in the attempted theft of a catalytic converter. A witness who saw suspicious behavior in front of his home yelled out and the vehicle left the scene, police said, before the catalytic converter was stolen.

The vehicle was stopped minutes later by police who say they found saws, extra blades and other items needed to steal catalytic converters.

Catalytic converters are part of the car's exhaust system.

They help remove harmful emissions but contain three rare earth metals that are soaring in value: Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium.

Right now, two of them, Palladium and Rhodium, cost more than gold.

“We looked just now at what the price of what Rhodium is and Rhodium is selling for $28,800 an ounce,” said Bryan Sudan, commander of the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force.

Sudan says a catalytic converter can be sold for hundreds of dollars and that thieves are targeting cars with more than one.

“Fuel-efficient and, you know, cleaner cars like hybrids, they have more of the precious metals inside them so those are the cars they like to target most,” Sudan said.

Sudan says metal prices are fueling a black market for catalytic converters.

Rogers said his dealership is offering a steel cable system to deter theft.

Police across North Texas want people to be aware of the problem and call 911 if they think they see it happening.

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