Sumary of Thieves are stealing catalytic converters from parked cars, as prices of precious metals spike:
- Without a garage, he had a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser parked in his driveway, alongside his bedroom window.
- Thefts of catalytic converters have skyrocketed from an average of 108 per month in 2018 to 2,347 in December 2020, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
- And some estimates suggest the figure may have doubled again this year, driven in part by surging prices for the rare metals used in the emissions control devices.
- Platinum, the primary metal, bottomed out at around $622 an ounce early in 2020, but then climbed to nearly $1,300 later in the year.
- There isn’t all that much of these metals in the typical catalytic converter — between 3 and 7 grams of platinum — but it doesn’t take much effort for a skilled thief to nab one of the devices.
- Thieves then take the devices to scrap metal dealers before heading back out to steal again, going after vehicles that use the most rare metals in their catalysts, such as the Toyota Prius and other hybrids.
- As exhaust gases pass through, those rare metals cause unburnt fuel to completely burn off, so what spews out of the tailpipe has a minimum of smog-causing oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and other pollutants.
- Authorities are cracking down on more unscrupulous scrap metal dealers who intentionally wink and nod when thieves show up with their ill-gotten goods.