Cat Burglers on the Prowl

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

People who buy SUVs because they think the extra ground clearance gives them a better vantage point in traffic are at risk of losing their catalytic converters for the same reason. The Los Angeles Times reports that catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed over the festive season; high-rise vehicles are the targets of choice. The Times says the platinum-rich converter, valued at $40-50 by scrap-metal dealers, is gone in 90 seconds. In the past month, thefts were reported in Los Angeles, Pasadena, the Bay Area, Sacramento, Seattle, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Tennessee. Since there are no serial numbers or any other identifying marks on the converters, nabbing the thieves requires catching them in the act. Crime-prevention experts recommend parking in a garage (thanks). Alternatively, you can weld the converter to the exhaust system to foil the socket-wrench-wielding thieves– and thusly avoid a $1k replace and repair bill.

Frank Williams
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  • Turbosaab Turbosaab on Jan 02, 2008

    Good luck to anyone who tries to get my rusty bolts off with a socket wrench.

  • 210delray 210delray on Jan 02, 2008

    The houses don't even have to be vacant for the thieves to strike. My mother had the copper downspouts stolen from her older home in suburban Pittsburgh some years back.

  • NovaRanger NovaRanger on Jan 03, 2008

    To All those who Think A Straight pipe will work, NO GO. On Cars Built after 1996 The computer moniters emission levels before and after the cat to determine the proper fuel/air those cars will not run well without them. Not to mention in Emission states, they so a Visual check for the cat, not just the tail pipe probe for the test.

  • Toering Toering on Jan 05, 2008

    Um. This happened to me either today or last night I kid not. Old Toyota 4x4 parked on my driveway. The bastards must have capitalized on the storm. Impossible for anyone to hear anything.