Catalytic converter thefts on rise

Published 1:25 pm Thursday, December 3, 2020

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The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating multiple counts of thefts of catalytic converters throughout the county. 

According to investigators, several of the thefts have occurred on church property. 

One theft was reported Monday, Nov. 30 from Bethel Baptist Church in Phenix. According to investigators, the catalytic converter was stolen from the church’s Dodge Van which had not been driven in two weeks.

Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to contact the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office at (434) 542-5141.

Many vehicles have been left unattended for months due to the mandatory stay-at-home orders surrounding COVID-19. That vulnerability, combined with a hike in the cost of precious metals, is causing an increase in catalytic converter theft not only in Charlotte County but across the nation.

A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that is part of the exhaust system of most vehicles. Thieves have targeted converters because they contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, and are often easily accessible, lightweight and worth quite a bit of money.

To prevent such thefts, vehicle owners should try and park their vehicle inside a garage or a well-lit, highly visible area. Auto part manufacturers also sell after-market devices to further secure catalytic converters.