High value auto parts put some local thieves on Santa's naughty list

Wulf James-Roby
The Daily Ardmoreite

Every year the holiday season sees an uptick in petit larceny and burglary of easily lifted items like exposed packages or unsecured handbags.  

A rash of alleged larceny from businesses over the holiday week targeted another high value item: catalytic converters.  Three businesses were hit last week, with damage estimates ranging from $400 to $1,500 for missing catalytic converters and damage to fencing other security equipment according to local police reports.

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Ardmore Police Department Captain Claude Henry said thieves steal catalytic converters because they contain small amounts of precious metals. “These metals include platinum, palladium, and rhodium,” Henry said. “When a thief is able to possess several catalytic converters, they sell them on the black market. The catalytic converters are later disassembled for the precious metals. The metals are then melted and sold at market prices.”  

Henry said catalytic converters are easy to steal because of their location on a vehicle. “The catalytic converter is attached to a vehicle’s exhaust system, which means it cannot be concealed within the cab or trunk of a vehicle,” Henry said. “Thieves are able to crawl under a vehicle with a cutting device and make two cuts in order to remove the catalytic converter.” 

Henry offered these precautions that can be taken to prevent the theft of catalytic converters: 

1.       Park vehicles inside of a secured garage or storage building overnight. 

2.       Purchase and have installed aftermarket anti-theft devices for catalytic converters ($500 for purchase and labor). 

3.       Park vehicles under well-lit areas with video surveillance. 

Henry also said most video surveillance systems are equipped with movement notifications that allow users to identify possible thieves in the area of their vehicle(s) and they can notify the police department of the suspicious activity.