Catalytic converter thefts on the rise, Clay County Sheriff’s Office says

Zoey Fields

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that they have seen an increase in catalytic converter thefts recently.

A catalytic converter is a device incorporated into the exhaust system of a vehicle that works to convert pollutant gases into less harmful ones. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the converters contain numerous rare earth metals such as platinum, palladium or rhodium which increases their value.

The sheriff’s office said that the highest targeted vehicles are the Toyota Prius, the Honda Element, hybrid vehicles and large trucks and SUVs.

For owners of these vehicles, the sheriff’s office posted four tips of added precaution:

  • Park in well-lit areas or near an entrance. Park in a closed garage if you have one and, when in public parking lots, call 9-1-1 immediately if you see someone on the ground underneath a car with a power tool, the sheriff’s office said
  • Businesses can install motion sensor lights and video surveillance around the area. The sheriff’s office suggests parking vehicles in such a way that makes it difficult for a thief to access them
  • Citizens and businesses can install a catalytic converter anti-theft device such as a cage to help prevent the converter from being removed from the vehicle.
  • Mark your converter, the sheriff’s office said. This can be done by etching an identification mark into the convertor or painting it to help identify it in the event that it is stolen. These markings will deter buyers from purchasing it and prevent thieves from cutting it, they said.

Oftentimes, catalytic converter thieves will pawn the converter for money from the valuable metals or convert the stolen metals into cash, the NICB said.

An aggressive thief can easily collect 10-15 or more converters in a single day. They often target sport utility vehicles (SUVs) because their ground clearance is sufficient for the thief to gain access to the converter without having to deploy a jack. And that saves time, according to the NICB website.

Clay County residents can call the Clay County Sheriff’s Office at 904-264-6512 or send in a SaferWatch tip, which allows one to remain anonymous.
The Clay County Sheriff's Office released a Facebook notice Thursday about the increase in catalytic converter thefts.Clay County Sheriff's Office Facebook

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Accredited journalist with experience covering a wide range of stories consisting of breaking news, city and county government, crime and courts, feature stories and local interest. Facebook Bulletin writer, reporter; The Learning Curve. Twitter: @zoeyfields0

Jacksonville, FL

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