WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Several catalytic converters were stolen in the Interstate Drive and Capital Drive business districts in West Springfield Tuesday night into Wednesday.
According to West Springfield Police, the catalytic converters were stolen from work vehicles and larger conversion-style vans and trucks during the overnight hours.
Police said “the randomness of these crimes and the lack of any identifying numbers on the catalytic converters, make the investigation difficult for law enforcement.”
The West Springfield Police Department is asking that any person or businesses who operate these type of vehicles take extra precautions to secure and safeguard these vehicles. They also ask if anyone sees any suspicious vehicles or people in these types of situations to call the police department.
(WTWO/WAWV) – Catalytic converters have long been a target for thieves, but a number of communities across the country have seen an uptick in thefts recently.
What is a catalytic converter?
A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that’s in the exhaust system, found underneath a vehicle.
The device makes it so that carbon monoxide is not coming out of a vehicle’s tailpipe and being spread into the environment.
Why do people want to steal them?
Inside a catalytic converter are three valuable metals, platinum, rhodium and palladium, according to Steve Finzel, owner of Finzel’s Mastertech.
How are they taken and how do you know if it’s happened to you?
Catalytic converters can be cut out from underneath a vehicle. Finzel said some thieves have gotten so good at removing them, that it can be done within minutes.
“We’ve had customers that have gone out from being in a store, start the car up, don’t know what has happened,” he said.
If a person starts the car and it is extremely loud, it is likely that the cat converter was stolen.
Can this problem be fixed?
Catalytic converters can be repaired or replaced, but it can be an expensive fix. Finzel said it can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the assembly type.
Does insurance cover this?
According to J.D. Pizzola with State Farm Insurance, comprehensive insurance for your vehicle can help with necessary repairs.
What are the penalties for catalytic converter theft?
Penalties vary by state. In Indiana, for example, catalytic converter theft is a misdemeanor. However, proposed legislation would make it a felony eligible for at least six months of jail time and/or a fine up to $10,000.