Looking at the news, it’d be easy to think that catalytic converter theft is carried out by a wily group of bandits under cover of night, but that’s not always the case. A Philadelphia-based towing company is in hot water after almost a dozen people ran a theft ring that racked up millions in stolen catalytic converters.
Volvo has reportedly filed a new patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that would add digital protections designed to prevent modern car thieves from doing what they do. While the golden age of car thievery typically involved criminals skulking around in the dark to find an isolated model they could jimmy open and then hot-wire, today’s thieves tend to linger in crowded parking areas our outside homes with computers that scan and capture the codes being transmitted remotely from the key fob to the car.
As if living through a pandemic and endless speculation that the United States is sliding away from democracy weren’t bad enough, some people decided that 2020 and 2021 were great times to start stealing catalytic converters at a record pace. The issue has been bad enough to make national news several times, but the Department of Justice just announced a major bust that could at least slow things down for a while.
With catalytic converter theft having risen by 300 percent across the United States through the summer of 2021, regions of the country that have seen crime rates dwarfing the already brutal national average have started to introduce laws designed to prevent the issue from getting any worse.
On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed new legislation designed to prevent catalytic-converter thefts. The auto part has become a preferred target for criminals, especially on the West Coast, due to its high content of precious metals and relative ease of removal. Last year, more than 18,000 units are believed to have been hacked off in California alone and the issue only seems to be getting worse.
Following an internet trend that proliferated on TikTok over the summer, there’s been an alleged surge of vehicle thefts targeting Kia and Hyundai products. The issue reportedly began with a video tutorial recorded in Milwaukee showing how to steal the cars by shoving a connected USB cable into a cracked-open ignition. But the resulting problem has spread to major cities across the country, often with rowdy teens – known as “ Kia Boyz” – taking random cars for little more than joy rides.
As you may have already heard, catalytic converter thefts are on the rise for a myriad of reasons. Crime is up in general, the economy is in rough shape, they're pretty easy to steal, difficult to track, and the price of certain metals found inside the emission-limiting devices (e.g. platinum, rhodium, and palladium) absolutely skyrocketed after global shutdowns stifled production. The issue has actually gotten so bad that even relatively small cities are reporting organized theft rings getting busted with piles of catalytic converts on hand.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
- Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
- Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
- Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.
- Inside Looking Out I did not notice, did they mention climate change? How they are going to fight climate change, racism and gender discrimination. I mean collective Big 3.