According to a recent article, thieves are now targeting catalytic converters on vehicles in the metro Denver, Colorado area. A catalytic converter is a device used to reduce the toxicity of emissions from an internal combustion engine. First widely introduced in 1975 for automobiles in the U.S. to comply with tightening EPA regulations on auto exhaust, catalytic converters are still most commonly used in motor vehicle exhaust systems.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals including platinum, palladium and rhodium. With the economy as bad as it is today, the cost of the metals contained in the coverter makes stealing the converters very lucrative for thieves. Accessing the converters located on the underside of a vehicle is easy to do. These thieves have targeted areas such as park-n-ride partking lots. Seventeen thefts have been reported in Aurora and six in Thornton, Colorado.
Toyota trucks and SUVs are the most targeted vehicles because of their high ground clearance and easily removable bolt on the catalytic converters. Even if the converters are welded on, thieves are still able to steal it.
Damage to the vehicles’ wiring or fuel line from stolen converters occurs. Plus the cost of replacing the converter can run into several hundred dollars.