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A Metal that Costs 15 Times More Than Gold is Driving Catalytic Converter Thefts


PICKAWAY – A business owner says that he has been hit for a second time by thieves in just a few weeks.

On Christmas eve a business owner was maced after finding a man red-handed at his business stealing items. When he chased after the suspect he was maced, a 911 call was made and when Pickaway county Sheriff Department arrived on the scene they attempted to arrest a man who ran from them.

“He was cutting converters off the cars in my back lot, he had grabbed items from inside the cars, and broken into my building to steal tools.”

Fast forward to the week of January 5, 2021, and the same business owner says he’s been hit again with a lot of businesses around him. Again the thieves were aimed at cutting converters off vehicles. Why converters you ask? Well, converter theft has been a known aim for thieves for years, but we have seen an incline in it lately with a higher price of metals.

Cats, as they are referred to include rare earth metals that are worth more per ounce than gold, Palladium, and Rhodium both these metals are worth thousands per ounce. Converters only have small amounts of metal in them to work properly but it’s enough to make the cats worth about fifty to several hundred bucks each based on the manufacturer of the converter. It also only takes a pipe cutter and just a little bit of time to remove one.

Thieves target small local repair shops and places with out-of-way locations for the quick grab. That fix can cost vehicle owners hundreds to replace.

The metals are still on the rise in cost, and with mining for these metals low because rhodium is only mined with platinum, and platinum is in surplus mining is not going after the metal. Expectations are that the price of the metal will continue to soar for several years meaning that converter theft will be here for years.

Below are photos from local companies that have had issues with this theft, if you recognize the man or the vehicle contact Pickaway Sheriff office.

The owner sent us several surveillance photos and noted the mace bottle that was around his neck. “That’s the bottle he used against me when I chased him,” he said.