Ala. authorities, auto expert share catalytic converter theft prevention tips

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
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EAST ALABAMA (WTVM) - Authorities in east Alabama are warning of an increase in thefts of a specific car part.

It only takes minutes to saw off this car piece from the bottom of your car, and it contains valuable metals that people have been selling for money.

A catalytic converter is a metal emissions control device in the exhaust system found underneath a vehicle.

Authorities report recent theft cases in Opelika, Auburn, Phenix City and Columbus but have also extended to other areas.

Auburn Detective Captain Jude Hacket says the parts are stolen due to the precious metals that are easy to sell, from $50 to $400.

“It has several metals in it that are very valuable. The main targets are rhodium and platinum. Like rhodium is many times more valuable than gold.” Advance Auto Parts employee Lorenzia Smith says it’s easier for thieves to steal from lifted vehicles, but he says they will take it off from any car if they’re desperate. He shows me how it’s done.

“Like this both of these are converters and what they normally do is mount up under the car and what they do to get it from under there is just cut it here, and cut it there and take this part off.” Opelika Captain Johnathan Clifton says they are working on catching the thieves and those who purchase the catalytic converters.

He recommends parking near surveillance cameras, well-lit areas, or purchasing motion detection lights.

“If you hear anything that sounds like a machinery late at night then its probably someone trying to steal something. Some people if they are afraid, they’ll have their catalytic converters stolen they can stamp the Ven number on the catalytic converter and there are actually parts you can buy to prevent theft.”

If you turn on your car and it starts to shake, check if your Catalytic Converter has been stolen.

If it has, make sure to contact authorities.

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