Catalytic Converter thefts once again on the rise

Catalytic Converter thefts are on the rise once again. In West Lafayette, there were 5 reported thefts just last week. In June, Lafayette police had seen around 40 reported thefts for a total loss of around $75,000.

Posted: Oct 26, 2021 12:14 AM
Updated: Oct 26, 2021 12:17 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)-Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise once again. In West Lafayette, there were 5 reported thefts just last week. In June, Lafayette police had seen around 40 reported thefts for a total loss of around $75,000. 

Lt. John Eager says they are seeing these thefts occur the most in apartment complexes however, he adds that isn't the only place they have seen this type of crime occur. 

Catalytic Converters are a hot commodity on the black market. According to Caleb Martin, General Manager for Beck's Auto Center, one factor plays into the increase of these crimes.

"It's only when scrap metal goes up. When scrap metal goes up that's when you see the rise in theft of Catalytic Converters," said Martin

On top of that, these crimes can be hard to prosecute and catch. Especially since they happen fast. 

"The people that do this are good at it and so they are in and out quickly so it's hard to completely protect yourself from it," said Lt. Johnathan Eager with the West Lafayette Police Department. 

While your car is able to run without one, it's not something mechanics recommend.

"Number one it can make it really loud," said Martin.  "Number two it can make it run poorly and then you are polluting the atmosphere when you don't have one of those on." 

However, getting a replacement could prove to be harder these days, especially for certain types of cars.

"It can take a very long time to get parts right now," said Martin. "Some of them can be in stock some of them have to be made right then and there. The other issue is it could take two to three hours and prices range all of the places from an easy 600 to all the way up to 2,000 dollars depending on what the make and model of your vehicle."

Police recommend parking in a well-lit area or in a garage if you have one. However, there are things you can install on your vehicle to stop the theft from taking place.

"You can have a cage put around it, I haven't installed any of those just yet. I have seen people weld rebar to their pipes so you can't cut through it with a Sawzall," said Martin.

Martin says Honda's and Toyota Prius's are two vehicles that he has seen have Catalytic Converters stolen from regularly.

Officers say if you see something suspicious, call the police immediately.

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