TEXAS (Nexstar)- Update: In a recent report released by State Farm, Texas ranks as the second state for the most catalytic converter thefts across the country.
In all, the company has paid out more than 2.6 million dollars in more than 1,380 claims across Texas since January of this year.
Adolfo Pando, owner of Odessa Muffler and Brake said the shop averages about 20 calls a week from people asking about catalytic converter replacement.
In the 21-years Pando has served the community, he said this year is a record-high for clients who need converter replacements.
Pando said it only takes 15 minutes and a reciprocating saw for a thief to walk away with your converter.
“It’s pretty small you just roll under the car and cut it off and take off with your product.”
And just like that, someone is left with expensive damage.
Pando said it can cost anywhere between 420-dollars to about 10,000-dollars for a replacement.
It may sound like muffler shops would benefit from people having their converter stolen but, Pando said his business is hurting because of it.
“Actually they are taking some of our profit away because they are being able to do everything we do without doing the work we do,” Pando said.
Why the rise in thefts?
Catalytic converters are relatively easy to access and remove. A thief can unbolt and remove a catalytic converter in less than 10 minutes.
Additionally, the metals used to make the catalytic converters include platinum, palladium, and rhodium. All which thieves sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars per ounce. For instance, platinum is currently trading at over $1,000 per ounce, palladium at $2,500 per ounce, and rhodium at $17,500 per ounce. Thieves see it as a quick and fairly low risk with high payout potential.
State Farm offers these tips to help prevent theft:
- Call your agent to confirm your auto policy covers the theft of your entire vehicle. A replacement catalytic converter can cost upwards of $3000, not to mention the cost of missing work and finding alternate transportation.
- Consider anti-theft protection like a cable-locking device or a steel shield that runs along the exhaust system on the bottom of your car.
- Inscribe your car’s VIN on the converter, so it is traceable for a reputable scrap dealer.
- Park your vehicle inside your garage at night. If that isn’t possible, make sure your outside lights are on and bright to deter thieves. Consider installing motion-sensing lights for your driveway.
- Turn up the sensitivity on your car alarm so that if a thief jostles your car, it will activate.
- If you are out running errands, park in a well-lit and public area.