Catalytic Converter theft is becoming a national epidemic. Thieves are stealing catalytic converters because of the precious metals contained inside, including rhodium, which the National Insurance Crime Bureau valued at $14,500 per ounce.
Experienced thieves can remove a catalytic converter in one to two minutes using basic tools. What can net a thief hundreds of dollars at a scrapyard or recycler can then cost you thousands of dollars to replace, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
Among the ways to safeguard a car from Catalytic Converter theft is by engraving it with a license plate number or VIN so law enforcement officials can trace it back to you if recovered.
For the entire month of July, National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, eight Midas Total Care locations throughout San Diego, working with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, will be offering free Catalytic Converter engraving and painting by appointment. They will also include a complimentary courtesy inspection. Reservations at the shops are required and can be made by contacting each participating location directly, found in this link.
“We are doing this to support folks in the communities our stores serve,” said Nelson Diaz, Midas Region Sales Manager. “A number of Midas locations across the country are already offering this service, partnering with local police departments. By working with the DA’s office here in San Diego, we can make thefts less likely—by painting and etching license plate numbers onto the converters.”
According to San Diego County law enforcement agencies, from January 2021 to the end of March 2022 there have been approximately 3,000 catalytic converter thefts across the county. Most catalytic converters are valued at over $950, so they already meet California’s threshold for the crime of grand theft, a felony which has an exposure of 16 months to three years behind bars.
“Since January 2021 to the end of March 2022, our office charged 48 cases involving catalytic converter thefts,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “However, the cases we’ve been able to file are just a fraction of the catalytic converters being stolen each year because these converters do not have an identification number linking them to a legitimate owner making them practically untraceable. This event is an example of community and law enforcement partnering together to bring solutions through this free engraving service that will help identify stolen converters and increase the likelihood that we can file a criminal case.”
Of all the parts that make up a car, the catalytic converter is undoubtedly one of the most important for a few reasons. The catalytic converter helps to reduce airborne pollutants that could harm people as well as the environment, turning 90% of harmful emissions into less harmful gasses. It is an essential part of cutting emissions.