Thieves Targeting Catalytic Converters

Metro thieves have been targeting catalytic converters. They don’t net the crooks a lot of money but replacing one can be costly.

Daniel Hall was running some errands when he got in his car and realized something wasn't right.

“Once I got to my car, I started it and I realized the noise was really loud. It was very, very loud,” he said. I didn’t know what was going on so I popped the hood, didn't see anything weird, and then I heard it coming from the right side of the car.”

A thief had taken Hall's catalytic converter.

Jim Champion, owner of Charlie Graham, has seen his share of customers coming in with the same problem.

He said, “Those metals inside there are what actually make that chemical reaction happen, so that's what the thieves are after.”

What frustrates victims the most is that it can cost up to ten times more to replace the part than what thieves are receiving in the scrapyards.

Champion said, “To replace one, I mean, it can vary from $500 up to a couple thousand dollars, just depending on the vehicle.”

Experts say it's easy for a thief to steal your catalytic converter. All they need is a saw and about a minute with your car. The higher off the ground your car is, the easier it is for them to get to it.

Omaha Police are seeing a rise in the thefts. When that happens, they start contacting area scrapyards.

OPD’s Bill Fell says police, “advise them of it, or send them an email notice or something, stating, hey, we're seeing a trend in these again. Who are you seeing that's coming in?”

A public venue won’t deter the cat rustlers. According to Omaha police reports, thieves hit two cars at the Westroads mall. One of those incidents happened in the middle of the day.

Even after the costly replacement, Hall is keeping his spirits up.

He said, “Obviously they need the money more than I do.”

Police say your vehicles are safest in a garage at home. They add that when a thief is cutting out a catalytic converter, you'll hear a loud noise. Many use battery-powered saws. If you see something suspicious, call police.

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