CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Thieves across the nation and here at home are going to great lengths to get their hands on a car part that in some cases is worth thousands of dollars.
The catalytic converter on a vehicle is a car part that contains precious metals that are very pricy.
“They can range anywhere from $500-600 up to $2,000,” said Marty Evans, who is a mechanic at Rusiniak’s Collision in Cheektowaga.
Rusiniak’s says it has serviced at least 25 cars that have had the catalytic converter stolen this year.
“There’s a black market for them,” he said. “The material in the converter is very expensive.”
Cheektowaga Police say they’ve had 10 thefts of catalytic converters this year. Five of those were in March alone.
Rusiniak’s says it’s seeing thieves sawing the converters off of bigger vehicles, like busses.
“It’s happening in commercial lots overnight where vehicles are parked,” said Cheektowaga Police Assistant Chief Brian Gould.
On an average vehicle like a Honda Accord, sites like RepairPal.com estimate you will pay up to $1,600 to replace it.
Police say you can protect your vehicle by spray painting on the catalytic converter to deter thieves. Police say scrap yards won’t buy converters that have been painted.