Why Do Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters?
Thieves steal catalytic converters because they will steal anything of value that can be easily sold on the black market. Catalytic converters have a high value due to the precious metals contained inside them.
What is a Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter is the most important part of your car’s exhaust system. It converts harmful engine exhaust gasses into less environmentally harmful emissions through a chemical reaction. Most of the environmental hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides in the exhaust are converted into less harmful carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor. Catalytic converters started being used in cars in 1975 and quickly became universally used to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s stricter regulation of exhaust emissions.
Catalytic converters come in different shapes and sizes are usually about the size of a loaf of bread, sometimes they are flattened and placed in front of the engine right after the exhaust manifold. The converter requires high heat to function, so it’s placed as close to the engine as possible. Sometimes more than one converter is necessary with vehicles that have dual exhaust manifolds. Since they’re mostly found on the underside of the car – they can be removed within minutes with a metal cutting tool.
Thieves steal Catalytic converters and sell them fast .
The main reason catalytic converters are often stolen is money. They contain three precious metals that help create a chemical reaction that makes exhaust pollutants less harmful. The three precious metals are platinum, palladium, and rhodium. The prices of these metals have risen dramatically since the beginning of the 21st century.
This has resulted in junkyards purchasing catalytic converters. Online companies have sprung up that will purchase converters shipped to them through the mail. While the values of different converters vary tremendously, prices range from about $65 to a whopping $1,500. Due to the increased values, thieves steal catalytic converters by cutting them off from under a car parked on the street, in a driveway, and even in a parking lot at night or even in broad daylight.
In recent years, law enforcement agencies across the country have been trying to thwart the rampant thefts that can cost car owners upwards of $2,000 for a new catalytic converter.
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