Catalytic converter theft increased by over 1000% between 2018 and 2022. According to the National Insurance Crime Service.
The black market is growing, and states are tightening laws related to reselling parts.
In the background, more people are being killed trying to steal parts.
With the alarming increase in catalytic converter thefts over the past five years, people accused of trying to wash valuable parts have been killed in the process.
Replacing parts can cost upwards of $1000, but theft is also taking people’s lives. According to local reports across the country, several people have been run over or crushed to death while trying to steal parts in recent months.
Thefts have increased steadily since 2018, According to the National Insurance and Crime Bureau.
There were nearly 1,300 thefts for which insurance claims were filed that year, a 325% increase the following year. By 2020, there were just under 14,500 thefts. This data does not take into account thefts for which no insurance claims have been filed.
People are looking for metals worth more than gold
According to NCIB, theft increased 1,215% between 2018 and 2022. This part helps reduce the amount of toxic and polluting gases emitted from each vehicle’s engine. Theft has increased significantly during times of financial hardship and economic uncertainty, according to the NCIB.
The black market is also booming, with platinum, palladium, rhodium, Precious metals used for parts, being harvested. The price per troy ounce of rhodium has reached up to eight times the price of gold since 2019. According to CalMatters.
According to the NICB, if a part is stolen, drivers can get back $1,000 to $3,000 without insurance. Deterring theft by using Cat Shields, a mechanism that blocks access to converters, is also an expensive measure. Average between $200 and $500.
To steal a part, a thief has to get under the car, often propping it up with a jack.
Tragedy strikes more often as thefts rise
In February 2023, a Palmdale, Calif., woman was sleeping in her Ford Excursion when a man climbed under the car and began trying to see off the converter, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Reportedly, when she was awakened by the noise, she started her car, backed out of the parking lot, not knowing someone was under her, and killed the man.
A few weeks later, in Georgia, a man was crushed to death while trying to jack a catalytic converter out of his car at a dealership. The jack lost support for the car and the car fell on top of the man, who was found dead the next morning. By WSAV3.
In Merced, California, a man who was trying to steal a converter was hit by a car and died in a similar fashion in March 2022. Around ABC30.
In April 2022, a Sacramento man was run over while trying to steal a catalytic converter. According to Fox2, The year before, in Anaheim, a man died after a Toyota Prius fell on him while trying to pry open a converter at an auto body shop. According to KIRO7.
States are introducing many new laws to stem the rise in theft
According to the NICB, in recent years states have acted to pass new laws to curb the rise in theft in order to eliminate intermediaries such as unlicensed scrap yards that can pawn catalytic converters without a trace. I’ve been
At least 35 states have passed or introduced laws aimed at stemming the rise in thefts, with California accounting for at least 37% of thefts, according to NICB data.
There are at least three new laws in the book, including one that tightens the chain of parts sellers and resellers to owners, licensed auto dismantlers, and repair shops.As an alternative, the purchaser will need to register additional documents such as her VIN number of the original car in the converter and information about the make, year and model of the car. According to CalMatters.
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