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Sioux Falls police warn of rise in catalytic converter thefts

Catalytic converter (file photo)
Catalytic converter (file photo)(Manitowoc Police Department/carparts.com)
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 11:25 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Authorities are warning about a crime wave targeting a specific car part: catalytic converter thefts.

Police spokesperson Sam Clemens said the Sioux Falls Police Department received six reports of catalytic converter thefts over the weekend. He said this is part of a growing trend across the nation, adding that the city has seen 40 to 50 reports in recent months.

A catalytic converter is a device in a vehicle’s exhaust system that cuts down on pollutants and toxic gases. They are made with a small amount of several rare metals, including platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Demand for these metals has surged dramatically in recent years, and thefts targeting catalytic converters have followed suit.

“It’s a quick and easy thing to do,” Clemens said. “They climb under the car, they have some type of saw, they cut off the catalytic converter, and away they go. I don’t think it takes them very long to do that.”

Victims realized there was a problem when their vehicles ran loudly once they turned them on, Clemens said.

Police say the thefts are happening across the city, including in both residential neighborhoods and business parking lots.

The thieves may sell the parts to a salvage yard, or they may sell them online. Clemens said these are difficult crimes to track since there is no serial numbers or records that tie a specific catalytic converter with any particular car.

The vehicle consumer website Edmunds reports vehicles that sit higher off the ground, including pickups and SUVs, are more likely to be targeted since the exhaust system is easier to physically access.

Clemens said police do not have any suspects in the recent thefts. He asked anyone who notices anything suspicious, including people crawling under vehicles, to call police.

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