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Home / Business / Catalytic converter thefts continue to increase; tips to protect yourself from this costly robbery – St. George News

Catalytic converter thefts continue to increase; tips to protect yourself from this costly robbery – St. George News

Many catalytic converters removed from vehicles have been removed in Mesquite, Nevada, March 28, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Mesquite Police Department, St. George Press Center

British stone. George- In the past year, the number of catalytic converter thefts has surged because these devices filled with precious metals are popular targets for thieves and can be removed in just a few minutes, but replacement costs are high.

Many catalytic converters removed from vehicles have been removed in Mesquite, Nevada, March 28, 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Mesquite Police Department, St. George Press Center

After receiving many reports involving the theft of catalytic converters, the Mesquite Police Department issued an announcement last weekend, which was posted on the department’s Facebook page.

Catalytic converter is an important part of vehicle exhaust system, it is a device full of precious metals (such as platinum and palladium). The consulting agency pointed out that the cost of replacing these converters is very high, and large trucks, vans and buses are the vehicles most concerned by thieves.

Mesquite police sergeant. Wyatt Oliver told the “St. George News” that when national problems approached home-there have been five thefts in the past month or so, the department decided to issue this advice-with some Security tips to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of such theft.

It turns out that, judging by the number of recent thefts reported across the region, Washington County is not immune to this type of criminal activity.

Tiffany Atkin, a spokesman for the St. George Police Department, told St. George News that the St. George Police Department had “substantially” reported incidents involving the theft of catalytic converters.

Hurricane trooper Ken Thompson said that hurricane troopers received two reports of catalytic converter theft in the last month, while in Washington, the number of reports of converter-related theft remains fairly stable. Police Chief Jason Williams said.

Dixie State Police Commissioner Blair Barfuss told the St. George News that the department had a series of catalytic converter thefts around the university. He also said that many reports involved the Toyota Prius, which seemed to be the brand and model the thieves were targeting.

Buffs went on to say that they were able to trace the thefts of several suspects who came to the St. George area from Las Vegas, Nevada, adding that the allegations have been submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review. He also mentioned that there have been many thefts in the Cedar City area, in fact many.

Last month, a suspect was arrested in Cedar City. Before being sent to prison, the police who searched the vehicle found a black duffel bag containing multiple catalytic converters cut from the vehicle. City news.

In addition, a series of catalytic converter thefts were reported at Southern Utah University in Cedar City in January, involving multiple vehicles deprived of converters, mainly Honda Accord and Toyota Prius, as previously reported by Cedar City News Like that.

Why use a catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters are devices that look like small mufflers, designed to convert harmful exhaust gas emitted by engines into less harmful gases-but the precious metals used to make the equipment make them very attractive to thieves.

Mesquite, Nevada, March 28, 2021 | Photo of the catalytic converter on the underside of the vehicle, with the red arrow depicting the location of the converter | Photo courtesy of the Mesquite Police Department, St. George Press Center

In recent years, the price of palladium and other precious metals used in the manufacturing process has also risen, and as prices continue to rise, the number of thefts involving these converters has also increased.

After the catalytic converter is removed, the vehicle will make a harsh roar, when the accelerator pedal is stepped on, it will make a louder roar, and may also make splashing noises during shifting, or drive unevenly.

The St. George News Agency contacted Mike Mueller, the owner of Red Rock Machinery. He said thieves had “surveilled the catalytic converter for several years.” They usually target large vehicles, such as motorhomes. , Large trucks and trucks, because of large vehicles, the larger the catalytic converter means that more and more precious metal criminals are looking for.

Mueller said that just last week, a customer brought a truck to install a catalytic converter after discovering that it had been stolen.

Depending on the brand and model, the converter can be cut or removed from the vehicle in as little as 15 minutes or less, while other types of vehicles require more specialized tools.

He said that restricted access to the vehicle’s chassis system is the best choice to resist thieves competing for these converters, which can be achieved by installing security cameras and parking in safe, well-lit areas.

Mueller said that taking safety precautions to prevent thieves is also a good investment, because the costs associated with replacing the converter are not cheap-in some cases, from $500 to $2,000 or more, depending on the size of the vehicle .

Theft, property crime and COVID-19

Across the country, the theft of catalytic converters shows a similar upward trend to other property crimes (including car theft and carjacking, and vehicle theft)-this trend started in March last year and was subsequently released nationwide. “Stay at home” order, according to Allstate.

Data support increased. For example, in 2018, an average of 108 catalytic converter thefts were reported every month. The following year, this number almost tripled, and 282 thefts were reported. According to the analysis of the National Insurance and Crime Bureau, the analysis shows that by 2020, these numbers have soared, with an average of more than 1,200 thefts per month.

Stock image of the mechanic shop | Image courtesy of Anon-tae / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News Agency

In short, according to the bureau’s analysis and research, the number of thefts rose from 108 to 1,200 in three years.

At the same time, the price of precious metals has also risen sharply, including rhodium. Rhodium is one of the metals used to make these converters. As of December last year, its value was US$14,500 per ounce.

David Glawe, President and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, described the catalytic converter theft as an “opportunistic crime” and said that in times of crisis, there is a clear connection between limited resources and supply chain disruptions, which drives criminals to turn to them. Precious metals.

This issue has not attracted the attention of the legislatures of 18 states. They are currently evaluating actions to contain the problem. In Utah, as early as 2009, metal theft has been a problem throughout the state.

So many, this issue was resolved at the Congressional Subcommittee Hearing on Crime and Drugs in the same year, when Senator Orlin Hatch said in his testimony: “Any aggressive thieves use metal stealing. To discover new opportunities for crime”. By reselling it to scrap metal dealers, it can be quickly converted into cash.

Utah is also one of several states that has enacted laws on metal theft. The “Metal Theft Amendment Act” enacted in Utah in 2009 requires dealers to keep records of all purchasers, including their names and driver’s license numbers or other photo IDs, and add a section to the catalytic converter . It also makes the defendant liable for the losses caused during the theft.

In Arizona, a law was passed that prohibits the purchase of catalytic converters unless the catalytic converter comes from a car repair company or recycler, and the purchase of certain metals is completely prohibited.

Nevada has enacted legislation that not only requires metal processors to maintain all purchase records, but also requires metal buyers to obtain permits.

Mesquite Police Department, Mesquite, Nevada (date not specified) | Photo courtesy of Mesquite Police Department, St. George Press Center

The Mesquite Police Department has issued a series of safety tips to help consumers reduce the risk of being a victim of this type of theft. Although nothing is foolproof and the theft can still happen, Oliver said, at least, they can help you. Law enforcement agencies are identifying thieves, thereby preventing further theft.

The first tip is to check your vehicle frequently and make sure to start the vehicle to make sure that the catalytic converter is still there. Car owners can also install security cameras and anti-theft devices, many of which are available on the Internet, and are designed to protect the converter from theft.

Spraying the catalytic converter with high-temperature fluorescent orange paint and engraving the vehicle identification number on the equipment may also help and may prevent scrap metal dealers from accepting it.

Mueller said the best way is to ensure that the vehicle is parked in a deterrent place.

“Any place with good light and high visibility, these people can know if they are climbing under your vehicle and they are likely to be caught.”

Click here to access the complete list of security tips.

Copyright, Saint George News Network, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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