Catalytic Converter Theft On The Rise

JONESBORO (KAIT) - Recently a rash of auto part thefts has hit Jonesboro.

Catalytic converters are the part of choice because many can be sold and are quite valuable.

A catalytic converter is the part of the exhaust system that converts harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions.

And it's the materials inside these things that makes them valuable.

Chris Scercy, Hummelsteins Recycling, "Platinum, and platinum is what the fumes go through it cuts down the emissions."

The platinum is coated on a screen or put on a bunch of metal pellets.

This makes it worth while to recycle for money.

Scercy, "Some is worth quite a bit some is worth 5 or ten dollars."

At Hummelsteins Recycling a catalytic converter can be converted to cash.

Scercy, "Some of them they bring in individually, some they bring in with a load of scrap they keep separate. We'll look at them price them accordingly."

Now Hummelsteins will take these at their office through the window but be prepared to present your drivers license and explain where you got the catalytic converter from.

Scercy, "We do follow all the state laws that says the I.D. And all that we screen ask where they come from."

Nationwide and here in Region 8 the theft of the converters is growing, Memphis had a huge rise recently and here in Jonesboro one mechanic I spoke to said they had replaced nearly a half dozen in the last couple of weeks.

Over at 3 Star Automotive we actually found a vehicle that had the catalytic converters stolen. Like this  Jeep Liberty. It's got two converters and from what they tell me they're not difficult at all to take off.

Tim Lamb, Mechanic "No, all you gotta have is a battery powered saws-all and cut it right off. You can go to bed at night and get up the next morning and yours will be gone."

The thief is not going to make nearly what it will cost you to replace the converter which could cost upwards of 500 dollars or more.

It's good to recycle and you can make some money. But note that you can get arrested if you try and sell a stolen converter. And it could cost you a year in jail and maybe a thousand bucks in fines.

Scercy, "When we get a phone call saying something has been stolen we really screen them ask them where it's come from and that nature."

Although there is no guaranteed method to prevent this kind of theft.... A good idea is to keep your car in a garage or carport and keep them well lit at night.