Feds Announce Huge Catalytic Converter Theft Ring Bust


As if living through a pandemic and endless speculation that the United States is sliding away from democracy weren’t bad enough, some people decided that 2020 and 2021 were great times to start stealing catalytic converters at a record pace. The issue has been bad enough to make national news several times, but the Department of Justice just announced a major bust that could at least slow things down for a while.

Thieves can hack off a catalytic converter in moments and may be able to sell the component later for a decent profit, thanks to the metals used in their construction. We knew there were groups of people involved in the thefts, but the DOJ’s takedown of 21 people across five states shows that this is bigger than most of us thought.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says thousands of catalytic converters were stolen in California, Oklahoma, and elsewhere and notes that several defendants were involved in processing the parts for raw materials to be sold later. Prosecutors say that others transferred and received millions of dollars for the sale of stolen catalytic converters. 

Lawmakers and others have called for preventative measures to slow down or stop thieves altogether, including etching the car’s VIN into the components. Authorities are also starting to crack down on people and companies that knowingly purchase stolen catalytic converters. As an individual owner, the best things you can do to protect your car’s underside are to park in a well-lit area, get an anti-theft device or motion detector, or paint your catalytic converter to alert buyers that something might be off.

[Image: Dave Smith 1965/Shutterstock.com]

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