Theft of Car Parts on the Rise 2023

In 2022, there were more than 153,000 catalytic converter thefts across the country.  The vehicles most effected were Ford F-Series, Honda Accord, Toyota Prius, Honda CR-V, Ford Explorer, Ford Econoline, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevrolet Cruz. 

In April of 2023,  a theft crew of seven was arrested and charged with stealing catalytic converters from 470 vehicles in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  This bust involved more than 70 local police departments and the losses from these thefts are estimated to be about $2 million.

So, what is a catalytic converter and why are they being stolen?  The catalytic converter is part of your vehicle’s exhaust system that converts engine-exhaust pollutants into less-toxic pollutants.  Catalytic converters contain platinum, palladium, and rhodium which are among the most expensive mined materials.  The worth of your catalytic converter depends on your car model, size, and weight but can range from $75 to $700 when sold as scrap per JD Power

Unfortunately, these thefts are prevalent in South Carolina as well.  Back in 2021, our agency staff had a personal experience with this when Rebekah’s husband’s truck was parked behind a locked gate with other co-workers’ vehicles who were away at training.  There was a crew of four who cut a hole in the fence and stole catalytic converters from over 50 vehicles.  The crew did thousands of dollars worth of damage to the vehicles.  Some of the vehicles had to be towed to body shops because they could not be driven due to additional damage done when the converters were cut out of the vehicles, i.e., O2 sensors were damaged and brake lines cut.  Through the hard work and dedication of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, that crew has since been caught when found trying to remove a catalytic converter from a church vehicle.  But the damage was already done and everyone had to fix their own vehicle at their expense or file an insurance claim if they had comprehensive coverage on their vehicle.

There are ways you can try to prevent these thefts.  Be sure to park in a well-lit area close to public entrances, regularly move your car, install an anti-theft device if possible, install motion sensitive lights/cameras in your parking area, and paint your catalytic converter to deter buyers.  Some police departments even offer programs for painting!

Bottom line, be aware these thefts are happening and practice some of the prevention methods above.  If you do experience one of these thefts, call us to discuss filing a claim and to see if it makes sense for your situation.