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Thieves Target Catalytic Converters

In recent weeks, Forsyth County deputies have responded to a number of thefts of catalytic converters.


Catalytic converters have become common targets for thieves, reports the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

In recent weeks, deputies have responded to a number of thefts of catalytic converters on Trotter's Way, McFarland Parkway, and Parkway North Drive.

Why is this piece of equipment so valuable? Answer: Precious metals.

Those metals include palladium, platinum and rhodium, according Nationwide Insurance. Rhodium sells for roughly $9,500 an ounce, while platinum pays at about $2,000. Stolen parts are sold to scrap yards anywhere from $100 to $150 per part.

It can be a lucrative business for thieves and an unfortunate expense for the victim.

Replacing a stolen catalytic converter can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

Nationwide Insurance writes, "Vehicles that sit higher from the ground, such as trucks, pick-ups and SUVs, are particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter theft because thieves can slide underneath without having to jack up the vehicle to gain access to the converter."

In less than a minute, with the aid of a battery-powered saw, the catalytic converter can be stolen.

To prevent from becoming a victim, Deputy Kevin Ferraro, of the FCSO Business Watch program, offers the following tips:

  • Defensive Parking: If you have a fleet of vehicles, block the high-clearance vehicles with your low clearance vehicles. The goal here is obstructing access underneath the vehicle. At the very least you want to slow the thieves down as much as possible so that your other security measures have time to work effectively. Always park in well-lighted areas.
  • Effective Security Lighting: Lighting is vital to reducing catalytic converter theft. Good security lighting makes your vehicles visible to the street.
  • Live Video Surveillance: For some businesses it will make sense to install video cameras to monitor for catalytic converter theft.
  • Parking in a secured fenced area: Fencing will deter the occasional/opportunistic catalytic thieves and it will slow down the thieves so that your other security measures such as live video surveillance can be effective.
  • 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.
  • Catalytic Converter Protective Sleeves: Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems (i.e. “Catclamp” or “Catcuff”) at your local auto parts store or on the Internet.
  • ID# Etching: Etching your converter with a serial number such as your tag number to make it traceable. This will not protect you from theft, but it could help catch the thieves preying on your vehicles.

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