Reports of catalytic converter thefts from parking lots, car dealerships, and street corners have been steadily coming into Minneapolis-area police departments, sayst he Minneapolis Star Tribune. In many cases the reason is scrap metal. Catalytic converters, designed to remove the pollutants in car exhaust, contain small amounts of platinum, palladium, and rhodium as well as stainless steel and iron. A scrap metal dealer may buy one converter for more than $100, depending on make and condition.
This month, 19 cars in the Ramsey Police Department’s impound lot were stripped of their converters. Three weeks ago, someone climbed an 8-foot fence at a used car dealership in Clearwater, Mn., and cut 40 to 50 converters off vehicles slated to be reconditioned and another 40 off vehicles that no longer ran but were being stripped for parts. Sport-utility vehicles are favored by thieves because they sit high and offer more clearance. Catalytic converters are adding to an already long list of items being stolen and sold for their metal value. Brewers expect to lose hundreds of thousands of kegs and millions of dollars this year as those stainless steel holders of beer are stolen and sold for scrap. Other items, among them aluminum house siding, copper wiring, even bronze statues, have gained favor with thieves as prices paid for scrap remain high.