Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in Bakersfield

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – You or someone you know may have been a victim of catalytic converter theft. It has been a common problem this year and the crime continues to increase.

Catalytic converters are part of a car’s exhaust system. They work by converting chemicals in the exhaust gas into less harmful ones. The parts are attached to the underside of cars, making them easy to steal. Most of the time, thieves can remove one with a wrench and chainsaw in about a minute.

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And that was the case with many people in Bakersfield. BPD has reported a significant increase in catalytic converter thefts so far this year.

It was definitely a very frustrating time for hundreds of Bakersfield residents as replacing a catalytic converter is not only expensive but also a very tedious process.

Lynsie McRoberts stole her catalytic converters from her Toyota SUV a few weeks ago, and according to Jessica Amos, a Bakersfield police officer, she’s just one of many.

Lynsie McRoberts

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“I didn’t know what sound it was making. So I texted my dad. I said, ‘Uh, something is wrong’ and he said to me, ‘Yeah, that’s your catalyst.’ So I just thought they had me, “McRoberts said.

“We have an increase in them that are currently being stolen all over the city,” said Amos. “We’re currently seeing about 450 for the year.”

The increase is due to the fact that the price of platinum, rhodium and palladium metals, which are used to make catalytic converters, continues to rise as other countries like China and Europe cut car emissions.

“They sell them to both recycling centers. There are several body shops that we have information to buy, “Amos said.

Auto repair companies like Bob’s Muffler Shop have been inundated with repair requests.

James Clemmons

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“We usually get 20 to 30 a day,” said James Clemmons, owner of Bob’s Muffler Shop. The phone rings until we open in the morning, until we close at night. We have a call that doesn’t stop all day. “

Replacing or repairing these converters is not a quick process. Some of these requests, such as B. for McRoberts, can take weeks or even months.

“It’s so fast. You’ve fallen behind in making them,” said Clemmons. “Some of the dealer cats are six to eight months old. They have nothing.”

Tips to avoid catalytic converter theft

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Without insurance, the price can be in the thousands. One inconvenience of BPD is that people can potentially avoid it by parking in well-lit areas or garages, engraving your car’s VIN on the catalytic converter, and installing an anti-theft device.

“It’s very inconvenient. Very frustrating,” said McRoberts. “But what can you do?”

If you are driving an SUV or truck, these tips are especially important as it is much easier to get under the vehicle and saves the thief time having to jack it up.

The BPD said it has received information about some car dealerships in the city that are buying these parts for either renovation or reuse. They did not go into the details of how they are going to get the problem through, but it is something that they are investigating.

You may be wondering what makes catalysts so valuable.

Catalysts consist of a combination of platinum, palladium and rhodium. All of these metals can be expensive, which makes them ideal to sell for quick buck.

Palladium is currently worth nearly $ 3,000 an ounce. Platinum costs around $ 1,200 an ounce. And rhodium sold for $ 29,500 an ounce.

Note that catalysts are not made entirely of these metals.

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