Thieves now aiming under your car - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Thieves now aiming under your car

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Some East Texas auto businesses say they are seeing a major increase in catalytic converter thefts. They say this is happening because the price of metal in the part is way up. In a KLTV Seven on Your Side report, victims of these thefts say drivers need to be on the lookout.

"It's a growing problem and it will continue as long as the metal is up," said Kenny Taylor, owner of The Muffler Shop in Tyler.

Taylor says he's seeing roughly five vehicles a week with stolen catalytic converters, which cost customers about $500 to replace.

"They're not too happy. We've had churches, individuals, businesses. Everybody's targeted," said Taylor.  

The catalytic converter is part of a vehicle's exhaust system and is used to reduce vehicle emissions. Without it, Taylor says starting your car sounds awful.

"I literally rolled up underneath the car and the first thing I see is two very cleanly cut pipes and then I knew," said Brad Shaw, you was a victim of catalytic converter theft.

Shaw says he stepped away for less than a half hour from a Dallas hotel parking lot.

"I was just surprised that someone could crawl under my car in a public parking lot, cut the catalytic converters off," said Shaw.

Taylor, who replaced the part for Shaw, is not too surprised.

"As the metal market goes up and down, so does the price of converters they steal," said Taylor.

Taylor says inside the converters there are precious metals: rhodium, palladium and platinum which translates to money for thieves.

"And when they get it off, it looks similar to this and they take it to a scrap yard or sell it on the market. They run up to $200," said Taylor.

As the price of metal climbs, Taylor urges drivers to be aware and file a police report if their catalytic converter goes missing.

Thieves also stole thousands of dollars worth of catalytic converters from Hi-Way Auto Park in Tyler a few months ago. The owner is offering a $2,500 reward to anyone who has information leading to an arrest and conviction. If you have any information, call Tyler Police.

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