December 14, 2020

An unusual property crime is making one of its periodic comebacks: thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles, sometimes in broad daylight, are increasing in frequency. Some Graham employees and customers have recently been targeted.

The converters can be removed from some vehicles with a battery-powered hand saw in as little as one minute. If yours is missing, you’ll know when you start your engine, which will produce a roar that some compare to a Harley-Davidson at full throttle.

Part of the emissions system, a catalytic converter turns some harmful pollutants into other substances before exhaust exits the tailpipe. Each one contains between three and eight grams of palladium, platinum, and rhodium. These valuable precious metals can be removed and resold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars per ounce.

Most vehicles will still run without a catalytic converter, but they won’t pass any emissions inspection. The cost of replacement ranges from around $700 to more than $2,000, and that doesn’t include any damage a thief in a hurry might do to other components.

What can you do?

– Park inside structures whenever possible.

– Consider installing security cameras. Amazon has a variety of options with highly-reviewed models priced as low at $40.

– Purchase a shield kit. You’ll spend a few hundred dollars, but any of these kits is cheaper than replacing a converter.  Bear in mind, though, that this measure won’t make it impossible for thieves to remove your converter – just much more difficult than identifying a new target down the street.

Be alert to your surroundings, especially when you’re in unfamiliar areas. Being proactive and protecting your truck and lawn spray equipment is critical to the health of a small business in this day and age.