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Catalytic Converter Theft Rises Across Country

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There are so many catalytic converter thefts across the country that the part is now out of stock.

HOUSTON crooks crawl under vehicles and steal expensive part, and it costs Houston drivers.

Over the weekend, deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office smashed a catalytic converter theft ring. 32 stolen car parts filled the trunk of a car. More than $ 14,500 was also found inside the vehicle. Four people were arrested.

People rang the bell on KHOU 11’s Facebook page about the crime according to MPs which is growing exponentially across the country.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Fred Persons said he and his metal theft team investigated around 200 reports of catalytic converter theft in 2019. A year later, the reported cases soared to the thousands.

It’s just within a single law enforcement agency. Police, gendarmes and other law enforcement officials also note a spike in the exhaust part of the car which contains a trio of precious metals: platinum, palladium and rhodium.

Every car built after 1974 has a catalytic converter. The part is attached to the belly of the vehicle and is accessible by a person sliding under the vehicle. This is why trucks and SUVs higher on the ground are easier targets. Catalytic converters turn harmful pollution into less harmful emissions. And if your catalytic converter is stolen, you’ll know it as soon as you turn on your vehicle.

Loud noise and potential engine damage is why Mike Beglin, a mechanic with Sals Automotive near the Galleria, says you can’t drive without it. Beglin and Sgt. Both say the car part can be removed in less than a minute by someone who knows what to do.

And you just cut them with a saw, a little electric saw, Beglin said. Made.

They stop in a car next to the vehicle, slide out the door, Sgt. Some people have said. Go under the car, switch off the converter and get back into the car. The video can usually catch the car. (If we) won’t get a plate, sometimes we never even see the suspect.

While the car’s exhaust part is big, what they’re looking for is this honeycomb material here, Beglin said while demonstrating where the mesh is on the exhaust converter. That’s what’s got all the platinum and palladium and stuff. And recyclers extract that in very small amounts. But if they have enough catalytic converters, it adds up.

There are only a few grams of precious metals in a single catalytic converter. But if you can get an ounce, it will be traded for thousands right now.

They’re cutting fences. They do it in the aisles, Sgt. Some people have said. They do it in broad daylight in Walmart parking lots.

Sgt. The people work undercover for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. He looks for scrap metal dealers who are not required to follow strict regulations.

The car part is basically nowhere to be found, so the best law enforcement investigators can do is identify the make and model when making busts like the one that happened in Harris County this week-end.

Sgt. People have said that Toyota vehicles are the most targeted because some models have up to four catalytic converters: two small in the front and two large in the rear. And they have more catalyst in them because they are a cleaner vehicle.

Zeeshan in Kingwood owns a 2017 Toyota Tundra that has been the target of catalytic converter thieves twice in 2020.

I was surprised. I was shocked, actually, ”he said.

Zeeshan is so worried about becoming a target for the third time, KHOU 11 has agreed not to use his full name or show his face in an interview.

According to a theft report he filed with the Houston Police Department, the first catalytic converter theft occurred right outside his apartment door in August 2020.

So when I got my truck within two weeks the same thing happened again, ”he said.

There are so many catalytic converter thefts across the country that the part is now out of stock. And the repair is expensive.

$ 1,200, $ 2,000 just for the game, Beglin said.

Sgt. People have said that these thefts happen every day.

It’s increasing, exponentially, in Harris County, ”he said.

State lawmakers may consider a bill that would put in place rules for scrap metal dealers. The proposed regulations would require a seller of metals to prove that they own the vehicle, the catalytic converter, and to show proof that the seller has purchased a converter to replace the one they are selling. If it does not pass this legislative session, Harris County is considering its own regulation and the City of Houston is considering creating an ordinance.

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