Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise across the metro area, and Hudson has not been immune.
The Hudson Police Department has had 10 cases since the first of the year, Sgt. Todd Pearson said.
In 2020, the department had a total of 5 catalytic converters theft and in 2019 it saw just one case.
One of the main reasons for the increase in thefts is the value of the metal, Pearson said. Catalytic converters are made up of rhodium and palladium. Right now, rhodium is worth more than $20,000 an ounce.
“It’s 10 times the price of gold right now,” Pearson said.
Thieves can sell the parts to scrap metal places.
The current economy and hardships brought on by COVID-19 likely factor into the rise in crime as well, Pearson said.
The thefts themselves are also easily done. A converter can be sawed off in just a minute.
Most vehicle owners don’t even know the damage is done until they start up their car and hear the loud roar.
“It sounds like a NASCAR almost,” Pearson said.
For vehicle owners, the theft can end up costing up to $2,000.
Prevention methods are available.
Parking in a well-lit area is best if possible, Pearson said, though most thieves can move quick enough that it won’t always help.
Aftermarket devices are available to make the converter more difficult to steal.
Some car alarms can also be calibrated to go off vibration, so the sawing motion of someone stealing the converter would set it off.
Certain models are more popular among thieves, Pearson said. Hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Elements were originally the most popular. Now Mitsubishis have also become frequent targets.
As the thefts continue, Pearson said police agencies are sharing information and comparing chronic offenders.
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