SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Catalytic converter theft can also be extremely costly for a victim since the cost of replacing this part can be high.

22News found out just how much it could cost you just to replace this essential auto part. The owner of a local auto salvage yard about this, and they say this crime is costly for the victim.

“We won’t buy them, said Paul Bachand,” said President of Westover Auto Salvage. “They call and they try to stop by, but we won’t touch them.”

Nearly 500 catalytic converters were stolen and sold across state lines, valued at roughly $2 million. This, was after a theft ring was busted, operating between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Experts say it’s the precious metals inside the catalytic converter that thieves are after.

“Rhodium… palladium….but converter prices are going down, but when it was astronomical I mean one catalytic converter alone could pay much as 12 hundred dollars,” said Bachand.

“A little tiny one could very often be worth more than the big one, because the big one may be all platinum, and the small one could all have rhodium. Rhodium has gone from $5,000, or $6000 an ounce to $26,000 an ounce, a year or two ago in the stocks,” adds scrap metal dealer Bruce Robinovitz, President of R&R Industries.

This ongoing issue has also been seen across the country. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported a nearly 12-hundred-percent increase in insurance claims related to catalytic converter thefts, between 2019 and 2021, and it’s a costly crime for the victims.

According to experts..replacing a catalytic converter can cost from the high hundreds to as much as $4,000, depending on the model of the vehicle and where you have it replaced. Robinovitz says thieves often saw off exhaust pipes to get to converters, which can cost $1,000 or more to fix.

According to one national insurance agency, if you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy then you should be covered against catalytic converter theft, but you may still need to pay your deductible, and some policies may require out-of-pocket expenses.

“You can buy it aftermarket, an after-market converter, if you put it on your car, it will last for a year, but then you’ll have to change it again,” said Bachand.

Robinovitz adds that it takes him and his crew 30 minutes to remove most converters, whereas thieves can take them in less than two minutes. Bachand also tells 22News that thieves typically target taller vehicles, like pickup trucks…because they can easily fit under the vehicle to access the catalytic converter.