Richmond Police report 207% jump in catalytic converter thefts

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 1:17 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 1:20 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At Allen Tire on Forest Hills Avenue, District Manager Billy Allen says they’re seeing more people coming in and they’re all victims with the same problem, a stolen catalytic converter.

“A lot, yeah. People go out and they get into their cars in the morning and they start them up and their cars are just loud as can be and they don’t know what’s wrong,” said Billy Allen, Allen Tire District Manager.

Richmond Police report more than 400 catalytic converters stolen this year. That’s a 207% jump from this time last year.

“When they’re stolen, oftentimes thieves can take them across state lines and sell them to disreputable scrap metal places and get a profit,” said Acting Major Rick Edwards, Richmond Police Dept.

Acting Major Rick Edwards says the thefts are happening across the city. He says thieves tend to go for multiple cars at once, so they’re hitting cars overnight in parking lots. They’re also seeing buses and church vans become targets due to opportunity.

“They’re easy to access for thieves. They don’t have to jack those buses up. They can go right under there with a saw and cut it off within 30 seconds some times,” said Acting Major Edwards.

Here’s how you can help. Edwards says if you hear a strange noise at night, like sawing, give them a call so they can come out and investigate. You can also have a mechanic weld a shield onto your converter, but it likely won’t stop crooks.

“I mean you are talking $400, $500 to put something like that on a car but ultimately that’s not going to stop them because they can just get In underneath here and cut that thing off just as easy as they cut it with or without that shield on there,” said Allen.

Police also have made some arrests over these thefts, but say it is challenging mainly because those catalytic converters don’t have a VIN they can trace.

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