Nationwide, law enforcement is receiving a growing number of reports regarding stolen catalytic converters. 

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office East District has, similarly, been receiving an increased number of calls for service regarding these thefts. 

The catalytic converter is a component of a vehicle exhaust system designed to reduce pollutants released into the air.  Their use was mandated in 1975 as a means to protect the environment.  It is located beneath the vehicle and, in some cases, can be easily accessed. 

This device contains valuable precious metals including platinum, palladium, and rhodium.   

Removal of the device is relatively easy.  With the use of a reciprocating saw, thieves slide beneath a targeted vehicle and quickly cut the device free from the exhaust system.  Trucks and cars with significant room beneath the ground and the vehicle make for easier access. 

Upon starting your vehicle, you will immediately know that the catalytic converter has been stolen as your exhaust will make an extremely loud and unpleasant noise.  Immediately contact law enforcement as well as your insurance company.  Comprehensive insurance generally covers stolen vehicle parts. 

While there are “anti-theft” devices that will make catalytic converter theft more tedious and time-consuming, many are somewhat costly. 

As is always the case, parking in well-lit and high-visibility areas reduces the likelihood of theft.  Parking inside of a garage, of course, virtually eliminates the possibility of catalytic converter removal.  Security cameras, aimed at your vehicle, often deter would-be thieves and assist in their prosecution when caught. 

Some vehicle owners have chosen to purchase engraving tools and etch their names and/or vehicle identification numbers onto their catalytic converters.  Others have purchased specially-made steel cables, making theft a bit more difficult. 

Legislators have begun composing bills aimed at discouraging the theft and sale of these automotive parts.  Still, proactive measures reduce opportunity and dissuade criminals from targeting your vehicle. 

Please consider any or all of the aforementioned security recommendations.  Most importantly, be a good neighbor and report suspicious activity around neighbors’ vehicles. 

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