Local Mechanic Offers Tips to Avoid Catalytic Converter Theft | Community


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The number of catalytic converter thefts hit a new high during the pandemic – and it didn’t seem to drop in Louisville.

Surveillance video obtained by WDRB News of Exhaust Pro, located off the outer loop, shows an adult male looking over his shoulder before diving under an SUV to cut out his catalytic converter.

Longtime mechanic Aaron Smothers said many thieves who do this are looking for what’s inside the unit: precious metals.

“We’ve gone from seeing converters stolen once every five to six months – now we see 15 to 20 a week,” said Smothers, who adds that thieves receive between $ 150 and $ 200 per stolen catalytic converter.

From what he knows, thieves can remove the part from the car in one to two minutes.

“We had a Suburban that was in our parking lot and the catalytic converter was stolen and it was a $ 1,800 system for the customer,” Smothers said.

Typically, police say thieves take catalytic converters from cars or trucks in linear malls, parking lots and even driveways.

The device looks like a small silencer, and the metals inside are what thieves are looking for.

“These honeycombs and these precious metals are iridium and platinum inside a converter. If you look inside the new one, it has the same substance,” Smothers explained.

Pro Exhaust Manager Aaron Smothers compares and contrasts manufactured catalytic converters and universal aftermarket catalytic converters.

He said a universal or aftermarket catalytic converter would likely stop thieves because the value isn’t as high.

Universal catalytic converter

Universal catalytic converter.

While some auto experts recommend that drivers purchase protective covers – which can cost around $ 100 – Smothers offers more affordable tips to protect this precious car part from daring car part thieves.

“These guys obviously love the dark and doing it after hours, so I think the brighter area or the safest area you can park in, the better off you will be,” Smothers said.

In an effort to reduce the number of thefts, the city of Louisville passed legislation earlier this year preventing pawn shops, second-hand dealers and secondary metal recyclers from buying or selling stolen metals, including those to inside the catalytic converters.

“These guys know what they’re looking for,” Smothers said.

Louisville Metropolitan Police have reported that 1,341 of these auto parts have been stolen so far this year.

LMPD Stolen Catalytic Converters

LMPD data showing 1,321 stolen catalytic converters so far in 2021.

If you or someone you know has information about the theft from Exhaust Pro or a similar theft, in addition to dialing 911, you can also report a catalytic converter theft on the LMPD website by clicking here.

You can also call the LMPD Crime Information Line at 502-574-LMPD (5673).

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