Catalytic Converter Thefts a Problem in the Stateline

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STATELINE (WIFR) – Stateline thieves are targeting our cars and making hundreds of dollars off a part most of us don’t even know exists.

Workers at LKQ are busy taking catalytic converts of all the vehicles in the lot, which then go into a huge box. The self-service auto part company then sells the converters legally, but assistant manager Jerry Velasco says many people sell the parts illegally.

“They’re right underneath the vehicle, usually in an easy spot and it only takes about two cuts to cut out.”

Velasco says the parts, which are connected to the muffler are worth anywhere from $100-$800. They may look dingy on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that makes the parts so valuable.

“You’ve got gold, platinum, ridium, and they’re expensive.”

The thefts are a constant problem in the Stateline. Officers say catching the thieves is almost impossible.

“You can take a catalytic converter off a vehicle in 12 seconds. It’s not rocket science. You slip under the vehicle or truck and cut it and then you’ve got it and you’re gone,” said Loves Park Police Chief Jim Puckett.

When there’s a rash of catalytic converter thefts, the Loves Park Police Department asks local scrap yards to keep an eye out for stolen parts, but it’s not an easy task.

“You can say you got if off your own vehicle and there’s not something that can tell where the converter came from, which vehicle it came from.”

LKQ does not buy catalytic converters. The company does have a license to sell them to car manufacturers.
Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot we can do to make sure our catalytic converters aren’t taken off our cars, except keep our cars in garages.