ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A rise in the price of precious metals has apparently sparked a surge in the theft of catalytic converters. On Tuesday the Rowan Sheriff’s Office said it was investigating the theft of approximately 30 catalytic converters from a local shop.
Deputies say the converters were taken from cars at Beaver’s Used Honda Parts and Auto Salvage on Deal Road. Investigators say there have also been several thefts in Cabarrus County and in Salisbury over the last few weeks.
A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s emission system that reduces pollutants coming from the vehicle’s tailpipe. The device contains between 3 and 8 grams of rhodium, palladium, and platinum. The current value of these precious metals make them appealing to thieves.
The catalytic converters on some hybrid cars, like a Toyota Prius, can be worth more than those on a standard vehicle.
Thieves can generally remove a catalytic converter from a vehicle very quickly using a battery powered hand saw. In some cases it can be done in less than a minute.
The loss of a catalytic converter is a real headache for the owner of the car. Without the device, the car can’t pass inspection, and in some cases, won’t run. If your converter is stolen, you’ll likely know it right away due to the very loud noise the engine will make.
Repair and replacement costs can be high, ranging from around $700 to more than $2000, according to edmunds.com
Locally, investigators have been checking with scrap yards and metal recyclers to see if anyone has been bringing in catalytic converters. North Carolina general statute 66-424 states that secondary metal recyclers cannot “purchase any central air conditioner evaporator coils or condensers, or catalytic converters that are not attached to a vehicle, except that a secondary metals recycler may purchase these items from a company, contractor, or individual that is in the business of installing, replacing, maintaining, or removing these items.”
Anyone with information on any of the cases is encouraged to call the Rowan Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700, or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.
Tips may be submitted online: https://www.p3tips.com/TipForm.aspx?ID=1007