OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — They aren’t after the car or anything inside — thieves are targeting what’s under it.
In St. Landry Parish, the sheriff’s department is already investigating more than 25 incidents of stolen catalytic converters since the start of the year.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, thieves are stealing catalytic converters at an alarming rate. 2019 saw over 3,000 converters stolen and in 2020 that number jumped to over 14,000.
“It’s easily accessible to thieves looking to make money,” said St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz. “All it takes is a special tool and within minutes they can be out from under the car.”
A catalytic converter is a device that is designed to convert the engine’s hazardous exhaust into less harmful gasses. As the value of the metals within a converter increases, so do the numbers of thefts.
Sheriff Guidroz continues, “Rhodium is about $23,000/oz, Palladium is about $2,000/oz, Platinum is over $1,000/oz”
There are some ways to know if you’ve been hit.
“You will hear loud noises. The vehicle will drive rough. From the back, beneath the vehicle, there will be a hole,” adds Guidroz.
He says there are ways you can reduce the chance of having a converter stolen.
Guidroz continues, “Park in well lit areas, closed-in garages. There are devices you can now install on converters. It is a catalytic converter specific device.”