By The Editors
We sometimes joke that WSR is an adjunct of 311 — we get a remarkable array of questions, requests, and complaints. Maybe there’s something to it after all.
An Upper West Sider who preferred to remain anonymous reported to WSR that his car (a 2004 Honda) had been parked on West 81st and Riverside Drive, on the park side, last Friday afternoon.
“I went to use the car on Sunday morning,” he said. “The engine was loud and I could smell the exhaust.”
He left it until Tuesday, and then “cautiously drove it” to his auto repair center, with the windows open to avoid breathing in the fumes.
“They put it on a lift and showed me that my catalytic converter was missing,” he said.
The man reported that the service guy told him they’re seeing lots of catalytic converter thefts, because they contain precious metals that can be sold. According to the Marketplace.org, catalytic converters contain trace amounts of three precious metals: platinum, palladium, and rhodium. In March 2021, they were valued at up to $30,000 per ounce.
It cost the man $1,800 to replace the catalytic converter and sensor. Since his was an an older car with a high deductible, it wasn’t covered by his insurance. The man said he’s concerned it’s going to happen again. But Installing a cover or a lock would cost several hundred dollars more.
The man called the 20th precinct to report the theft, so they were aware that this was happening.
“I was told to call 911, which seemed crazy to me since it wasn’t an emergency, so I called 311 instead.”
He was transferred to 911 and told by the operator that he couldn’t report the theft over the phone and had to have the police come over.
“It wasn’t worth the time, so I dropped it,” he said. “I thought the best way to get the word out was to report it to the press, so I contacted WSR.”
Guess if this was recorded.
Same with thefts, beatings, muggings…then Bragg and the Albany brainiacs will tell us that they have “seen the data” – and that they’re doing an amazing job.
Not to mention the complete lunacy of calling 911 for non-emergencies.
Everything to obfuscate, confuse, and ultimately, deter law-abiding citizens from keeping criminals and politicians accountable.
The problem started long ago with video cameras. Instead of cops on patrol deterring crime, cops now rely on cameras to solve crime so the stats look good. There are no metrics to be quoted for crime deterrence. Deterrence is needed, yet will never come back.
Mayor Adams seems to understand deterrence. I’ve seen a number of cops on the subway platforms over the past 4 days (not just hanging out by the turnstiles). I hear this directive was not received positively by the NYPD. But it is happening.
Catalytic converter theft is a big thing nationwide. I saw a security video and it took one guy less than a minute with a handheld circular saw to go under the car and remove the catalytic converter. I wouldn’t bother reporting it except for insurance purposes. How can the police possibly track down your catalytic converter? Even if they found an illegal garage full of them how would you know which one was yours?
After having our side mirrors stolen in the early 1990s, we vowed to never park on Riverside Drive, even if it meant parking 10 or more blocks away from our apartment. The doormen on WEA are like watchdogs, and will look out for you even if you’re not a tenant of their building.
NYPD is very aware of it:
Interesting link. Nowhere does NYPD say anything resembling “call us” or “here’s what NYPD is doing”. The whole thing is thinly-disguised blame the victim for parking a car.
$1800 dollars seems high, it’s not much labor and the part (the converter) is not $1500 retail.
Here’s one, a “real” Honda part for a 2004 Accord, with a manual gear box — $750:
estore dot honda dot com/honda/parts/view-honda-parts-catalog-detail.asp?m=2004-accord-2-ex-v6-5at&sn=&b=B++0201&dl=#003
And I’m sure there are less expensive aftermarket ones for Accords that will do the converting just fine.
Maybe, maybe not. On many cars there’s a different and far more expensive catalytic converter required to meet NYS (and likely Calif) specs.
I ran into this issue when my car was throwing catalytic error codes which would have _failed_ NYS inspection and the difference was something like $450 versus $2,000.
(It turned out the real issue was a defective EGR valve. Replacing that and letting the convertor “burn off” the old gunk cleared things up)
The problem is that the thieves don’t carefully disassemble the exhaust system to get at the catalytic converter, they just cut it out at convenient, easy to get at locations, damaging more of the exhaust and requiring more parts and more skill and time to replace.
Also many state inspections require the exact manufacturer’s part to replace any component of the emissions system.
OMG! The same thing happened to me on Sunday!!! and I was parked on 70th and West End. Also a 2004 CRV.
it would be a start if it was illegal for scrap metal yards to buy them. Someone is buying in bulk.
Someone had theirs stolen on RSD @ 93/Joan Of Arc Park. Black Mitsubishi SUV. First time I noticed it in neighborhood, but seen NYPD fliers.
Same thing happened to us and similar experience at the 20th. Had to engage with the officers two different times. Once they told me that since i moved the car I had to get an estimate to file a report and the second time, they had me come the the station and I had all the paperwork. They told me the guys the first time were wrong and took my report.
Funny enough they sent me a survey about my experience which i suppose is a good step but it’s biased because the officer that didn’t take my report was unhelpful, slightly rude, combative and gave me wrong information. The other officer was helpful and filed the report.
The last couple of years since Malin left the 20th has really gone down hill.
No my car was not robbed, but my 14 year old son was on Broadway and 97th by one of the guests at the shelter.
Guess what… no bail and he is back in the neighborhood.
If you have kids. Please complain to our elected city councilwoman!
Same thing happened to me in February but in the Bronx (Riverdale). Had to have the police come to where my car was parked to file the report (50th precinct). Insurance only allowed $725, which translated to $225 as I had a $500 deductible. Cost of replacement was $1700.
I may be wrong, but I believe it was Consumers Reports that had an article about this. One of the suggestions to deter thief was to paint the converter with a bright orange heat resistant paint the would make it more difficult to sell.
See reports in Yonkers neighborhood posts every day. Someone suggested getting VIN of car etched onto the converter……if theif sees it, moves on to another car. Not sure if that number stops resale once it is out of car. Many people putting covers on at the ends where the cuts occur. Reminds me of the days when radios were stolen out of dashboards all the time. Rememnber Bensi boxes?
Wasn’t it this site that had someone Rec some type of orange paint that would deter thieves due to the paint making black market resale more difficult? Or I dreamed that? I dunno how expensive that is or how easy to apply, but offhand, it seems like a prudent consideration?
Check this out. Cop in Texas killed while trying to stop hoods from stealing his Catalytic Converter.
The reason that the police don’t like to get involved is that their precincts are judged on crime statistics and they like to reduce the data. In a similar vein, some years ago my son was riding his bike through Central Park when a couple of guys near the north end. jumped him, pulled him off his bike and stole it. We drove to the police headquarters in the park to report it and the officer who took down the information put it down as a theft. I told him that force had been used, making it a robbery instead of theft. But the officer ignored me and wrote it up as a theft. This, of course, would keep down the number of robberies in the park and improve their statistics. As the saying goes, “figures don’t lie; but liars figure.”
Hi Jerry! The very same thing happened to me in 1969!
When you don’t arrest people crime stats look good and then every woke politician one Albany can sleep week thinking they are making a world more fair and equitable while 12 year old brown kids get shot sitting in their car. This city and society at large has lost its mind.