Catalytic Converter Theft On The Rise In Tulsa

Thursday, July 8th 2010, 4:46 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK – People stealing catalytic converters is nothing new.  It's been happening for years, but the problem has grown to epidemic proportions all across the country and Tulsa isn't immune.

Thieves take them right out from under vehicles.

It only takes two cuts and can be done in a matter of minutes. Thieves are stealing the part to make a quick buck but it leaves you facing thousands of dollars in repairs.

"Yeah they knew what they were doing," Jimmy Gramblin said. "It's pretty easy. Two cuts."

A rumbling problem has popped up in Tulsa.

"I came out and started the car. It was extremely loud. And I knew immediately what had happened," said Gramblin, a victim of catalytic converter theft. "Because we had gotten an e-mail just the day before that it had happened to one of our neighbors down the street. "

Bold thieves hacking the catalytic converters off of vehicles.

"We've actually seen more cases here in the last couple of weeks which tells me yeah, the value for palladium or platinum both is pretty high," said Shane Wohl, Jim Norton Toyota Service Manager.

The primary function of the catalytic converter is to clean the toxins out of the exhaust. But the value is in the precious metals inside, specifically platinum.

"They are most likely taking that component to a scrap yard," Wohl said.

Shane Wohl with Jim Norton Toyota says the part is worth between $50 and $70 but repairing a vehicle can cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000.

"Actually my wife said "I told you so." I should have listened to her and put the car in the garage," Gramblin said. "But I was like it won't happen to us! And it did. So I'm not the exception."

Older model Toyota Four-runners seem to be the most popular choice but all vehicles have a catalytic converter, they just may be harder to get to.

Shane Wohl says there isn't much you can do to protect your vehicle from this theft. He says the best way is to put your car in the garage. And close the door.