Catalytic Converter Theft On The Rise In Green Country

Tuesday, October 19th 2010, 8:03 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Police say catalytic converter thefts from cars and trucks is a continuing problem.

Police in a number of nearby towns say the stealing continues because of the high price of platinum and rhodium, two metals used in converters.

Ian's had his Toyota Forerunner for 13 years. He saw the last story News On 6 did in July on Forerunners being targeted by catalytic converter thefts, so he was afraid he might someday be a victim and sure enough, he was.

07/08/2010 Related story: Catalytic Converter Theft On The Rise In Tulsa

Last Thursday, he went to a doctor's appointment at 12th and Utica. He was only inside 40 minutes, but, that was enough for someone to steal his converter.

A witness saw it.

"They say two people in a black Honda two-door. The male got out, crawled underneath with a pipe cutter, cut the pipe, came back out with a catalytic converter, put it in his car and left," Ian said.

Catalytic converters are devices required on all vehicles made since 1975 to reduce pollution.

They have precious metals inside them and when the hot exhaust enters the converters, those metals create a reaction that makes the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons less harmful.

Those precious metals are worth more money than ever, which means a thief might get 100 to 200 bucks for each converter they sell to a metal scrap dealer.

Ian says his son was pretty upset to find out somebody had stolen something off Daddy's truck, so Ian turned it into a lesson for his five-year-old.

"Braden was asking again, what did they take and he was starting to get upset so we decided to say a prayer for the person who took it, that they would get help, whatever that may be," he said.

It cost Ian $340 to get a new converter and the dealership in Bixby told him it was the fourth Toyota Forerunner he'd fixed in the past two weeks.

Police say Forerunners are being targeted so heavily because they're easier to crawl under since they sit higher than cars.

Here are some ways you might protect your catalytic converter.

• Parking near the store doors or by a busy street could help.

• A motion sensor on your vehicle might scare off a thief...

• Have a muffler shop secure the converter to your car with steel pieces welded to the frame.

Some companies sell security devices just for catalytic converters.