Catalytic converter thefts up 5,300% in Texas since 2019 – Beaumont Enterprise

July 13, 2022 by No Comments

Catalytic converter thefts have increased 5,300% in Texas since 2019, a report from AAA Texas states, noting that thefts of these car parts started to increase in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic led to higher unemployment and more vehicles left idle as people worked from home.

The top five counties for catalytic converter thefts in Texas are Harris, Fort Bend, Dallas, Bexar and Tarrant, the AAA report shows. In Harris County, there have been more thefts through May 2022 (115) than in all of 2021 (114). The same is true in both Bexar and Fort Bend counties, with the latter county having almost double the number of thefts through the first five months of this year than all of last year (42 to 24). 

SUVs and fleet vehicles, such as school buses, have been top targets to catalytic converter thieves, the report said. Toyota Prius’ have also often fallen victim to these thefts because they have two converters. 

Catalytic converters, which change harmful substances used to run a vehicle into less harmful gasses, are theft targets because they have a high earning potential, according to AAA. Thieves can sell the car part to metal scrappers for hundreds of dollars or to recyclers for $50-$250. AAA said the reason these parts can be sold for so much is because two of its components, rhodium and palladium, are worth more per ounce than gold. 

However, replacing a catalytic converter is more expensive than selling one. It could cost between $1,000-$3,000 to replace the part and it may be illegal to drive a car without the converter, as well, AAA said. 

“For many people, our vehicles are some of the most expensive purchases we make during our lifetimes, so protecting them should be a priority,” AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said. “With the cost of many goods and services on the rise, the last thing vehicle owners need is a costly car repair.”

AAA offered numerous tips in order to keep one’s car safe from catalytic converter thieves. They included parking cars in well-lit spaces near building entrances, parking in the garage if someone owns one, looking into purchasing a converter protection device, engraving the Vehicle Identification Number on the converter and having an enhanced insurance policy.



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