CMPD documents show suspects provided transportation to sell stolen catalytic converters

A local auto shop owner said thieves can steal a catalytic converter in as little as one minute.
Catalytic converters contain valuable metals that can then be sold.
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 7:23 PM EDT
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PINEVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - It’s a part of your car, but you may not have seen it or know where it’s located.

Catalytic converters are anti-pollution devices that contain precious metals, and thieves are after them.

WBTV obtained court documents, which detail CMPD’s ongoing catalytic converter investigation.

According to a CMPD report on July 8, 2022, five people were arrested on outstanding warrants.

Two of those five people said they provided transportation to their co-defendants to sell stolen catalytic converters.

In vehicles and hotel rooms connected to the suspects, police say five converters were found and multiple tools were used to steal the vehicle parts.

Experts say that anytime there’s stress in the economy, we start hearing about these thefts more and more.

“You just recognize that this is part of modern life,” owner of A&M Auto Service, Dutch Silverstein, said about catalytic converter thefts. “We do hear a lot about the theft occurring, because it takes so very little time to get it done.”

A minute or less, Silverstein said, is all thieves need to get what they want.

“These catalytic converters contain precious metal - platinum, palladium and rhodium,” he said.

Silverstein said, thieves will saw off the catalytic converters and then sell them to scrap yards.

It depends on the vehicle, but he said they could sell for anywhere from $50 to $800.

A new one could cost you thousands of dollars.

But before you never drive again, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, such as parking in a garage.

“If you need to park it somewhere, park it someplace that’s going to be well-illuminated so that others can see it, and you don’t want to kind of park it out of the way,” Silverstein said.

He said there are also aftermarket kits you can install to make it more difficult to remove them.

Consumer Reports suggests talking to your mechanic about alarms as another layer of protection.

Silverstein added that when you start your car, pay attention to how it sounds.

If it seems a lot louder, get out and look under your car to make sure you don’t see any parts cut out.

Related: Crime Stoppers: Police searching for vehicle connected to catalytic converter thefts