• May 14th 2012 at 2:00PM
  • 410
Photo of the underside of a vehicle after its catalytic... Photo of the underside of a vehicle after its catalytic converter was stolen (sidewalk flying, Flickr).
Three minutes. Two cuts. One saw.

That's all it takes to steal the catalytic converter out from underneath a car. "You get under there, zip-zip, and take it off," Jeff Prior, the manager of a transmission store in Warren, Mich., tells The Detroit News.

Thefts of catalytic converters -- tube-like pipes that reduce pollution from exhaust systems -- are on the rise. More than 100 catalytic converter thefts have been reported in the three-county Detroit metro area in recent months, according to the newspaper.

And Detroit's not alone. From California to New York, converter thefts are on the rise across the country. The converters are valuable because they contain precious metals, such as palladium, platinum and rhodium. A rise in the value of precious metals combined with ongoing economic struggles is to blame for the spike in converter thefts, experts tell USA Today.

Thieves can sell the stolen parts to scrap yards for anywhere from $100 to $200 per part. Repairs for the victimized car owners are significantly more expensive, running anywhere from $300 to $2,000 depending on the vehicle and the skill of the crook, who could slice through fuel lines and other parts as they remove the converter.

Cars that are higher off the ground, such as pickups, trucks and SUVs are frequent targets, because thieves can slide underneath without needing to jack the vehicle.

Insurance giant Nationwide says car owners who live in high-target areas can take these key steps to diminish your chances of being victimized:

-Engrave your license plate number on the converter. A highly visible identifier could deter thefts, and if not, at least help police trace the stolen part.

-An auto mechanic or local muffler shop can use hardened steel to weld the catalytic converter to the car frame, making it much more difficult and time-consuming for a thief to steal.

-Park in well-lit, public areas or secured areas at night.

-Purchase a vehicle security system.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is NOT new...this has been going on for years
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sorry about the double post.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I used to work in North Minneapolis, had to leave my company truck unlocked because if I locked the doors, they'd break ou the windows to find out there was nothing in it. Sure I had some bums spend the night in the back. But it's better than replacing windows. I was less than a mile from 3 scrap yards. Never had an issue. I recently moved my company to a nicer neigborhood, within a week they stole both the converters off my truck. Go figure...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I need one right now!
      • 3 Years Ago
      If I find anybody ******** with my car, I will shoot, to death, the skank skunk
      • 3 Years Ago
      i agree with sstuz its the medal yards that r making alot of money off stiole stuff , and they clame i didnt know well duh why would these poeple have cats and copper anyways? cause its STOLLEN
      • 3 Years Ago
      hook your pitbull to the bumper of your truck..that will slow them dowm..
        • 3 Years Ago
        they would steal it too
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hell i knew a guy that stole 25-50 a night , never did get caught for it ! he did go to proson for cooking meth though...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Welding the converter to the frame is a pretty dumb idea. The vibrations going thru the car will be enomous!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Times are hard enough now ive got to buy an attack dog. guess i've got to fed him too!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aside from the metals, weren't those the things that at 25-35,000miles the car could stop, making the person buy a new one? Weren't they a few hundred bucks? If that's the piece, could it be that reason, and not the metal recycling that makes them a wanted item? I used to hate it in Texas because back then there were annual inspections, so every year, some ass would steal something from our car to pass their inspection , headlight casing, tail light glass, that sort of stuff. A shame people can't be responsible enough to take care of themselves and leave my stuff alone.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My best friend has announced her wedding with a millionaire young man Ronald. They met via RichlovesC0M....it's where for meeting millionaires, who are searching for their special someone. It's worth a try! VIN etching is not expensive, is easy to perform, requires little or no maintenance and makes stealing a car less lucrative. The etching is permanent and you will also benefit from a discount from your insurance company. Home based VIN etching kits costs anywhere from $20 to $60. Car dealerships offer the same service for $200 to $300.
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