Catalytic converter theft is on the rise despite harsher penalties

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Catalytic converters continue to be a target of theft in our area despite a heavier punishment for the crime.

On July 1st, the penalty for stealing a catalytic converter rose from being a misdemeanor to a felony in the state of Indiana.

However, Sergeant Matt Ames with the Indiana State Police said that they have see a rise in thefts.

“We’ve taken several reports,” Ames said. “Individuals driving up and down the interstate will see vehicles alongside the roadway and can cut the catalytic converter off in two to five minutes.”

Steve Finzel, owner of Finzel’s Mastertech, echoed the fact that he’s seen a rise in thefts

“It had kind of slowed down,” Finzel said. “But in the last couple of weeks I’ve actually had three that have come in so it’s almost like it picked back up.”

The precious metal inside the catalytic converter is what people look for. Finzel tells me that some converters are made of platinum.

“They are using more expensive precious metals in today’s catalytic converters than they were years ago,” Finzel said.

However, the theft of one’s catalytic converter can be avoidable. Finzel explained that people are beginning to weld equipment underneath vehicles to prevent theft.

“People are making big plates that attach to the body of the car that protect all of this area so that it’s not so easy to get to,” Finzel said.

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