The soaring cost of precious metals found in catalytic converters has attracted criminals to steal these parts across the country including Carrollton.

A catalytic converter is a device that reduces toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas. They contain a small amount of highly valuable plating metals, include platinum, palladium and rhodium, which are the catalysts for the chemical reaction that reduces the toxic gases.

According to Meredith Browning, Public Affairs for the Carrollton Police Department, catalytic converter thefts in this area vary from year to year.

“The thefts come in waves,” said Browning. “It is very widespread all over the state and I’m sure all over the country. There have been numerous cases in Carrollton and Carroll County.”

According to experts, catalytic converters are an easy target for thieves to sell in scrapyards. They can be sold to recyclers for $50 to $250, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Replacement of a catalytic converter, however, can cost as much as $1,500.

Driving without a catalytic converter does not impact a vehicle’s performance, but driving without one could result in a hefty fine since the devices regulate emissions.

Thieves generally steal a catalytic converter by sliding underneath the car and sawing it out of the exhaust system.

And with a hand-held power saw, a catalytic converter theft can take less than 2 minutes; therefore, it can happen in broad daylight.

“It’s fairly easy with the right cutting tools,” said Browning.

But, what is hard is trying to prevent a theft from happening, according to Browning.

“There’s not a lot to prevent this except parking in a garage, etc.,” said Browning. “However, that’s obviously not possible in parking lots.”

Since the beginning of 2021, investigators have seen an increase in the number of incident reports being filed for stolen catalytic converters.

Just this week, two men who Carrollton police say were trying to take a catalytic converter from a downtown church van in broad daylight were arrested.

The two men were charged with criminal attempt felony theft by taking, aggravated assault, criminal trespass, and possession of tools for the commission of certain crimes.

And in March of this year, two west Georgia men were also arrested for attempting to steal a catalytic converter from a vehicle that was broken down on the side of Interstate 20.

The two men were charged with possession of tools for commission of a crime and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

According to the arrest warrant, this incident also happened in broad daylight.

Also in March, two Villa Rica men were accused of attempting to steal catalytic converters from vehicles at two Villa Rica locations.

Those two men were charged with two counts of possession of tools for the commission of a crime, one count of criminal damage to property to the second degree, three counts of criminal trespass, and two counts of theft by taking.

Trending Videos