Catalytic Converter thefts in Joplin, how to prevent it from happening to you

Joplin PD is investigating 12 reports in the last 6 months

Nixon’s Garage Owner, Rick Nixon has dealt with replacing catalytic converters on peoples cars, who had theirs stolen.

“A catalytic converter is involved in the exhaust system, it uses precious metal to convert the harmful gases in the exhaust into more benign or less harmful gases to exit, it’s a pollution control device.”

Those precious metals however, are a goldmine for thieves.

“There’s palladium, rhodium and platinum, and the values of those metals per gram or per ounce are extremely high, they’re rare and precious metals and there are ways to recycle those from the converters” added Nixon.

Catalytic converter thefts are continuing to happen across the country. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau from 2008 to 2015, there were more than 25,000 catalytic converter thefts in the nation.

Thieves are hack-sawing converters from cars in parking lots, cars waiting to be towed and even auto repair shop lots and selling them. Scrap prices vary depending on what kind it is, but some are worth up to $750. Some states have laws that require scrap yards and anyone purchasing precious metals to keep records of the transaction.

Missouri SB 157 and SB 102 states that it ‘requires that a record be kept for all transactions involving gold, silver, and platinum. Records of buyer transactions may be made available to law enforcement officials or other entities.’

Though this can help prevent thieves from selling the stolen converters, it can’t stop black market transactions.

Nixon pointed underneath a car “they cut off here and here and grabbing that chunk and running”.

It takes less than 5 minutes for thieves to get under your car, saw through the parts and take off with your converter. Leaving you behind with damage, and costly repairs.

“Some cars use one, some use two and some use 3 or 4 and some are very model specific, so the pricing is extremely expensive.”

Repairing and replacing converters can cost upward

According to the Joplin Police Department, there have been 12 reports of catalytic converter thefts in the past 6 months. They are still under investigation.

“We have a great police department here who will go out and continue to investigate these and try to be proactive in police work to prevent future thefts” said Captain Nick Jimenez, Joplin Police Department.

Though it is hard to catch these thieves, there are some ways you can help prevent this from happening to your car.

“Most of these thefts in our experience happen at night so having your vehicle parked in a well-lit area also helps” added Captain Jimenez.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, etching your vehicles identification number onto the converter is also an effective theft preventative measure.

You should also park your car in a locked garage if possible.

And although numbers are not high in our area right now, residents are concerned it could increase. A Facebook post has been warning people of recent thefts in the area.

“Theft is probably one of the most intolerable acts” added Nixon.

If you see anything suspicious, you are asked to call the Joplin Police Department.