|Catalytic Converter - Stolen!|
ALERT! Catalytic Converters are a target for theives!
It was going to be good weather and they loved the outdoors, so they packed their gear into the Pilot and headed out for a weekend camping trip. The campsite was a 2 mile hike along the trail from the parking area. Everything was wonderful and all had a wonderful time...until they restarted the Pilot upon returning to the parking lot. The Pilot growled and burbled with a surprisingly loud roar! During their slumber, somebody slid under their SUV with a battery powered saw and with a few rapid cuts, stole the catalytic converter assembly from the exhaust system! The pipes were cut and the mufflers were left dangling!
Why? Seriously? Why would somebody do this? Well....money. They're worth money as recyclables. Converters contain four different precious metals in the internal honeycomb (substrate) structure. Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium and Cerium are the most common. These materials react in concert with the hot exhaust gasses passing through them changing the chemical structure to gasses that are less toxic for our environment.
Some scrap yards pay around $100-$150 for a worn out catalyst. With Rhodium selling for $9k per ounce and Platinum somewhere around $2K per ounce, the demand is high.
The trouble is the mess crooks leave behind. The cuts are often made in the components in front of and behind the converter assembly. The cost of these repairs is often into the thousands even without considering a tow bill.
Theives generally are looking for vehicles that are parked for prolonged periods, in large or secluded lots like shopping centers, mass transit and commuter parking areas and even companies with fleets. SUV's, vans and trucks seem to be particularly vulnerable becuase their higher ground clearance allows the crook to slide under the vehicle without raising the car.
Nationally, this has been happening with increasing regularity and has authorities concerned. There are requirements in some areas that peg the vehicle ID code to each converter and a paper trail is required...but not consistently across the country. Vehicle comprehensive insurance coverage will usually cover the repairs but the owner may be responsible for the deductible and perhaps other ancillary costs. We wish there were a perfect way to prevent this from happening and to date, we're still searching for one. MWI