Report: Catalytic converter thefts skyrocket as valuable steel values soar


Catalytic converter thieves, the scourge of automotive house owners throughout Chicago, have been an issue for years. And experiences point out the crime is gaining popularity and extra profitable due to skyrocketing valuable steel costs.

No you haven’t arrived at a CNBC enterprise report in error.

Right here’s what’s up.

A mechanic works on a catalytic converter on this inventory picture. | Allstate Insurance coverage

You in all probability already know that converter thieves use saws to take away catalytic converters from underneath autos after which promote the gadgets at scrapyards or on the black marketplace for $100 to $200 every. The converters, which cut back dangerous emissions, are particularly precious as a result of they comprise small quantities of pricey metals.

The value of a type of metals, palladium, is at the moment promoting for practically $2,400 per ounce. 5 years in the past, it was buying and selling for $500.

5 years of palladium costs as of Friday, February 20, 2021. | Buying and selling Economics

One other steel contained in the gadgets, rhodium, is much more costly: $23,400 per ounce at the moment, up from lower than $2,000 per ounce 5 years in the past. Final yr alone, rhodium costs elevated greater than 3000%, according to Hagerty, an automotive information web site.

5 years of rhodium costs as of Friday, February 20, 2021. | Buying and selling Economics

Respectable scrapyard operators are required to get figuring out data from individuals who promote catalytic converters, so thieves sometimes flip to the black market to maneuver their stock. And the costs being paid are rising together with the dear steel costs.

SUVs have been fashionable targets in Chicago as a result of the autos’ excessive clearance makes it simpler for thieves to crawl beneath with a noticed.

Hagerty experiences the Toyota Prius is “notably engaging” to thieves as a result of the vehicles run cleaner than most autos, so the dear metals of their converters are much less depleted than commonplace vehicles.

The percentages of being hit by catalytic converter thieves are nonetheless comparatively low, however the price of changing a stolen one is rising. Hagerty ballparks the present restore value at between $2,000 and $three,000.

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