NEW JERSEY - The police in one Union County township have reported three catalytic converter thefts from cars in a single week.
The Westfield Police Department said they happened in the overnight hours in various areas of town.
In the first case, a man on Irving Ave. reported that his car was targeted in the overnight hours between last Monday and Tuesday. The car was parked in front of his home.
His vehicle's catalytic converter and two sensors were stolen. The approximate value of the items was $2,400.
On Thursday, a resident on First St. reported that their catalytic converter had been stolen from their car while it was parked on the street overnight. Their loss was estimated at $400.
Later that same day a man on Westfield Ave. reported that his catalytic converter was stolen from his van while it was parked on the street. His loss was estimated at $300.
Catalytic converter thefts are a growing problem across the New York City region and the country.
How long does it take to steal a catalytic converter?
Thieves can cut them off of cars in a matter of minutes. Usually, it can take 5-10 minutes.
Catalytic converters are a large piece of metal placed along the car's exhaust system that filters hazardous gasses from the engine.
They contain valuable metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. The prices of those metals have been rising rapidly. Rhodium was recently valued at $17,400 per ounce.
What car has most catalytic converters stolen?
Thieves typically target larger, high-clearance vehicles due to the ease of getting underneath them and removing the catalytic converter in a matter of seconds. In addition, hybrid vehicles like the Prius offer cleaner and more valuable catalytic converters.
How much do thieves get for a catalytic converter?
Recycling facilities will typically pay thieves $50 to $250 per catalytic converter, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
Does insurance cover if someone steals your catalytic converter?
The NICB estimates that owners can pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 to replace stolen catalytic converters. In some cases, catalytic converter thefts are covered by insurance, but the car owners are responsible for paying their deductible.