My Facebook feed has been blowing up lately with people reporting individuals out stealing Catalytic Converters. Take this recent theft in Darlington...

Credit: Lafayette County (Wis.) Sheriff's Department
Credit: Lafayette County (Wis.) Sheriff's Department

Authorities reported that a man driving a silver Dodge Ram entered the parking lot of a business west of Darlington at about 11:30am on Saturday(10/8) and cut a catalytic converter from a truck. The sheriff's department noted that the Dodge Ram of the suspect had extensive damage to the driver's side. Anyone with information on the incident should call Detective Sgt. Jerrett Cook at 608-776-4870, use the Lafayette County Crime Stoppers tip app, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-606-8477.

Lafayette County (Wis.) Sheriff's Department
Credit: Lafayette County (Wis.) Sheriff's Department;

Find this guy; because if he took yours, your car is going to sound like a tank when you start it. And the repair could cost you some serious dough, $300 to $2500 dollars.

 But why is he stealing it in the first place?

Firstly, this guy could make a chunk of change off that chunk of metal from under your vehicle; anywhere from $300 to $1500 when they are sold for scrap and climbing. Here's why, the precious metals included in the components have become a valuable commodity to sell; precious metals which include platinum, palladium and rhodium. The prices of these metals have risen dramatically over the years.

How do the thieves do it?

The theft problem is especially common among late-model trucks and SUVs, because of their high ground clearance and easily removed bolt-on catalytic converters. Pipe cutters are often used to quietly remove the converter. Thieves may also use a reciprocating saw; however, this can damage other components of the car, such as wiring or fuel lines, with possibly dangerous consequences. 

What is a catalytic converter and what exactly does it do?

Credit: Tony Savino
Credit: Tony Savino

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine into less-toxic pollutants by catalyzing a redox reaction. Redox reactions are oxidation-reduction chemical reactions in which the reactants undergo a change in their oxidation states. The term ‘redox’ is a short form of reduction-oxidation. All the redox reactions can be broken down into two different processes – a reduction process and an oxidation process. Catalytic converters are usually used with internal combustion engines fueled by gasoline or diesel, including lean-burn engines, and even on on kerosene heaters and stoves.

Car emissions exhaust
Credit: joebelanger

Basically, these little beauties make your vehicles exhaust a lot less toxic and are placed in exhaust systems in accordance with environmental regulations or through health and safety regulations to prevent excessive pollutants.

How Do I Prevent A Theft?

Unfortunately, it can be pretty difficult to prevent people from stealing them unless you keep your vehicles in a secure place where only you and approved people can access them. In addition, well-lit areas with heavy foot traffic can prevent many crimes from ever occurring. You can also have some professional auto mechanics weld your converter to your vehicle frame and some even install an additional shield.

Car thief trying to break into a car with a screwdriver. Car thief, car theft.
Credit: djedzura


How Many in America: From Guns to Ghost Towns

Can you take a guess as to how many public schools are in the U.S.? Do you have any clue as to how many billionaires might be residing there? Read on to find out—and learn a thing or two about each of these selection’s cultural significance and legacy along the way.

More From WDBQ-FM