Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters From Public Parking Lots

Walking out of her office after work near 114th and Dodge, Jessica Costanzo got a costly surprise when she started her car.

Her engine roared way louder than it should have; she said she knew something was wrong.

"I called my dad, he is a mechanic, so I drove over there. He looked under the car and he knew immediately that something was missing," said Contanzo.

The catalytic converter was gone.

"Saw, it was just straight cuts on each end where the catalytic converter is supposed to go,"said Contanzo.

Experts tell WOWT 6 News with the right tools, it only takes a matter of minutes for a thief to saw a catalytic converter off a car.

The problem, WOWT 6 News has tracked several catalytic converter thefts across the metro. Each one happening in broad daylight and in very public parking lots.

"Right by a busy street and people in and out of the parking lots all day long. I never would have thought it would have happened in an office parking lot," said Contanzo.

A catalytic converter is a part located underneath of a car. It basically takes all of the toxic fumes from the engine and through a chemical reaction makes them less toxic when released out of the exhaust pipe. What people are after are the precious metals in the part of the converter that the chemical reaction takes place.

Thieves only get about $30 at a scrap-recycling yard for the part, but the victims will be shelling out a lot more.

"I called Huber and they estimated about $1300. I have insurance which would cover it, but a $500 deductible is just not worth it for now," said Contanzo.

Car experts said the cost to replace a catalytic converter can range between $500 and $1500, depending on the damage.

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