In today’s edition of “What are people stealing these days?” we take a look at a resourceful thief who apparently sawed the catalytic converter and oxygen sensors off of a Honda CR-V that was parked on Riverside Drive and 105th street. The theft occurred last Thursday, the vehicle owner told us, and it cost him $2,700 to fix.
“Last night between 12:30 am (when we parked) and 9 am (when we moved the car) someone used a power saw to remove the catalytic convertor and oxygen sensors from our Honda CR-V while is was parked on RSD and 105th. We had to park on the Drive because streets all over the neighborhood were closed because of some film shoot or something to that effect.”
According to a Georgia television station, stealing catalytic converters is remarkably easy.
“Most vehicles you’ll find at least one catalytic converter,” said Jose Azcuy of Buckhead Mufflers. “Many vehicles have multiple converters.”
And depending on the model vehicle you have, each one can be worth upwards of $200 when taken to a recycling facility. That’s because of the precious metals inside.
“The key ingredient is rhodium or platinum,” said Azcuy. “And those precious metals break down the pollutants and carbon monoxide that most gasoline engines produce.”
Generally speaking, original or replacement converters from the auto dealer are worth more than those that are aftermarket, where typically only the minimum required materials are used.
“These guys know what they’re looking for; they know what they’re doing,” said Officer Tim Fecht of the Dunwoody Police Department. “If they have power tools, it’s pretty easy and efficient, and it probably takes them less than a minute.”
The problem is pronounced enough that someone has even created a “clamp” that can thwart catalytic converter thieves.