Bronx welder creates 'cat safe' invention to stop catalytic converter theft

A professional welder of nearly four decades, the Bronx's Rafael Greco now teaches the craft at a union school. 

The craftsman has spent the past few months working on an idea that he believes is a solution to a growing problem in NYC. 

Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise for years now. It’s a valuable exhaust emission control device made with precious metals that thieves can turn around and sell for up to $1,000.

The NYPD says the Bronx saw the most catalytic converters stolen in 2023.

It was 7 a.m. one morning when Rafe’s wife saw someone stealing a catalytic converter from underneath her Hyundai. The thieves got away and Rafe was forced to buy a new one for his wife’s car.

"She said can’t you weld something in here to keep them from doing that, and I said, ‘yeah I probably could,’" he said.

So, Rafe got to work, and now he has his own what he calls "Cat Safe" invention – a contraption that includes chains, cables and clamps that would take a thief hours to cut through.

"I weld the chain into this chain and I weld all along the chain along the whole length of the muffler and that way it’s almost impossible to get it out," said Greco.

Rage started putting that contraption underneath cars of family members, friends and neighbors and is now turning it into a side gig. 

He charges $250 to build it and install it underneath your vehicle, a process he says takes only 45 minutes.