The Cheyenne Police Department (CPD) is warning the public of an increase in catalytic converter thefts from parked cars. In the last year, catalytic converter thefts have risen across the country due to the precious metals they contain.
A catalytic converter is a portion of the exhaust system, which works to reduce the vehicle’s output of toxic gases. The International Association of Auto Theft Investigators in cooperation with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries reports that converters are being sold anywhere from $50 to $875 and can cost the vehicle owner thousands of dollars to replace.
“We are seeing this happen during the day and at night. Thieves will crawl underneath the vehicle and cut the converter out with a saw – some have gotten so good at removing them, that it can be done within minutes,” said Detective Bureau Lieutenant, Rob Dafoe. “In most cases, you won’t know this has happened until you start your car. You will hear excessive noise that amplifies as you push the gas pedal.”
Regularly parking in one area for a long period of time, such as a parking lot or on the side of the road, can give thieves more time to access your vehicle. The CPD recommends that vehicle owners park in a garage or secured parking area when possible. It is best to find well-lit areas, close to building entrances to protect your vehicle.
To address this issue, the CPD Detective Bureau has been working with local recycling businesses to stay on the defensive against criminals. The CPD reminds the public of these tips to help prevent catalytic converter theft:
• Report someone acting suspiciously around parked vehicles, during the day or at night. This could mean looking under different cars and carrying tools.
• When possible, park in a garage or secured parking area. It is best to find well-lit areas, close to building entrances.
• Fleet vehicles and minimally used vehicles should be parked in a secured, alarmed and well-lit area.
• If you have a car alarm, calibrate it so that it will activate when it detects vibration.
Anyone with information about stolen catalytic converters is asked to contact Detective Harper at (307) 637-6587.