A few weeks ago, my son’s car was running a bit rough, and while I had it in for an inspection, the folks at Cheriton Automotive quickly found the issue. Someone had tried to steal the catalytic converter using a Sawzall tool. They were able to weld and repair the damage and get me back on the road (great service, great price), however, catalytic converter theft is big business.
Catalytic converters have become a target for theft in large part because of the price of precious metals, like palladium and platinum, that are used in the parts.
Catalytic converter thefts have been plaguing the country since the start of the pandemic as thieves took advantage of unsuspecting car owners at never before seen levels. New data from BeenVerified, a public data company, shows that since 2019, catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed 2492.42% in Virginia in three years.
The study, Catalytic Converter Thefts Hit New Record in 2022—But Some States See Declines includes state by state crime data from January 2019 through 2022. The study estimates that the theft of catalytic converters quadrupled across the U.S. in 2021, a 353% increase from all reported thefts of catalytic converters in 2020, a previous record year for these thefts, and is again up another 20% this year when comparing the first four months of the year.
Virginia ranks 22 for the number of catalytic converter thefts per 100k registered automobiles.
Here’s the breakdown for Virginia:
|Virginia||Catalytic Theft Numbers|
|Percentage change thefts 2019 vs 2022||2492.42%|
|% Change Thefts YoY 2019 vs 2020||146.97%|
|% Change Thefts YoY 2020 vs 2021||588.34%|
|Percentage change thefts 2021 vs 2022||52.50%|
|Thefts per 100k Automobiles 2022||54|
|Rank Thefts per 100k Automobiles 2022||22|
|Rank Total thefts||12|
Paul Plante says
In the criminal-friendly, criminal sanctuary Democrat-controlled city of San Francisco, you can get caught red-handed stealing catalytic converters, and the criminal-friendly police will not only set you free, but protect you from your enraged victims, as well, which is a perc of being a criminal in a Democrat-controlled city like SF:
Police chief defends cops who released man suspected of catalytic converter theft
Caught in act, suspect in catalytic theft try freed by cops
Catalytic converter thieves hit victims over and over in Bay Area
KTVU FOX 2
“Caught in act, suspect in catalytic theft freed by San Francisco cops”
By Henry Lee
Published August 19, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO – It seemed like a slam dunk.
Witnesses saw a catalytic converter theft in progress and called the cops.
They came quick.
Well, not quite.
It happened at about 3 a.m. Tuesday in San Francisco’s Richmond District.
Surveillance video shows a man backing a stolen Honda Accord into a parking space near 24th and Anza.
Idling in the street, a jeep with a second suspect behind the wheel.
Soon, the unmistakable loud noises pierce the night, with the two men using the corner as a makeshift chop-shop.
“I woke up to the sound of you know, like, drilling.”
“It was extremely loud,” said Morgan Heller, who lives nearby.
She immediately called police.
Dispatch confirmed this was a catalytic converter theft in progress, based on the sounds.
The guy in the Jeep took off.
Officers from Richmond Station arrived at scene within minutes.
But even though Heller and her roommate never lost sight of the suspect, and the officers were talking to him, they wouldn’t arrest him.
“I heard them say, ‘You are free to go,’” Heller said.
The suspect even asked the officers where the closest bus stop was.
“I was like, ‘Why not do the white-glove treatment and just order him an Uber?” Heller asked.
“It was embarrassing…”
“The overall assessment is that we have to do better than this.”
“To see such inaction, its hard for me to understand what is the threshold for arrest and what is a reasonable expectation for police action,” Heller said.
In a statement, San Francisco police said in part,
“Our job is not just to enforce the law, but to ensure everyone is protected by the law.”
“Releasing a possible suspect does not mean the investigation is over.”
“In fact, it means the investigation is just beginning.”