A woman in California had fallen asleep in her lifted truck and, sensing an opportunity, a thief slid under it and started trying to steal her catalytic converter. But, as she was asleep, she had not idea he was under there. Eventually, she woke up, cranked the engine, and rolled away.
That’s when she felt a bump under her truck but had no idea what it was. Turns out, it was the catalytic converter thief. Somehow she figured out what had happened and called the police, who arrived along with an emergency medical team that took the would-be catalytic converter thief to the hospital.
Unfortunately for him, though he was taken to the hospital he didn’t make it. CBS News reported that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Lieutenant, Hugo Reynaga, said, “The victim turned her vehicle on, put it in reverse, heard a thump and stopped the vehicle, and then saw that there was a suspect underneath the car that had been run over by her car.” Further, CBS News reported that three other suspect, a man and two women, were taken into custody when they were found in a car parked nearby the truck.
Watch Fox 11’s report on the incident here:
CBS News then relayed some information from the police and it was tips on how to keep your car safe from the criminals trying to steal your catalytic converters. Here those are:
- When you are able to, park in well-lit areas and close to your home.
- Try to park your car inside and keep the garage door shut.
- Have the catalytic converter welded to your car’s frame, which may make it harder to steal.
- Consider engraving or etching your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter
- Consider engraving or etching your vehicle license plate number on the catalytic converter
- Calibrate your car’s alarm to set off when it detects vibration.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported in early 2023 that catalytic convert theft has exploded in recent years, increasing over 1200% since 2019 alone. In its words:
Since the start of the pandemic, data trends analyzed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the insurance industry’s association dedicated to predicting, preventing, and prosecuting insurance crime, have indicated a drastic increase in vehicle crime across the United States. Vehicle thefts, carjackings, and catalytic converter thefts are all nearing record highs. To help reduce current catalytic converter theft trends and protect consumers, NICB is partnering with businesses across the U.S. to hold VIN etching events.
“From supply chain disruptions to the exploding market value of precious metals, catalytic converters have become a prime target for thieves across the country,” said David J. Glawe, President and CEO of the NICB. “By attending a local VIN etching event, drivers can add another layer of protection for their vehicles and proactively help deter these crimes from occurring in the first place. ”
[…]Hours after Smith and local law enforcement held a press conference to announce the new initiative, which involves spray-painting catalytic converters to deter would-be thieves, the appointment-only time slots scheduled by Midas were booked.
“The more we can make our customers aware of the problem and offer them a solution, the better we can fight this crime,” said Ralph Shaheen, President of Shaheen Automotive Group. “Etching the converter is a start to prevention. It’s inexpensive, only takes a few minutes, and is a great service to our customers.”
Catalytic converter thefts increased 1,215% between 2019 and 2022.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
"*" indicates required fields