Catalytic Converter Theft Ring Busted!

getbent

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Unfortunately crime knows no boundaries. There is no rock bottom. Steal bronze memorial plates from cenotaphs? Yup they do that. Knock down a little old lady to steal her purse. Yes. Assault volunteer Christmas kettle workers and steal the Salvation Army donations? Yes. I’ve seen it all. Catalytic converters are just one of endless cash opportunities for desperate people. As general inflation, housing and food costs continue to soar in many areas more and more people become desperate. Substance abuse often follows. Then things get really bad.

Personally I am seeing a whole lot more people living on the streets than ever, in my lifetime. I am seeing crime continue to increase in my community. More brazen and bold acts. I’ve seen vigilante acts, fed up honest people charged.

Hard times in the land of plenty.

I was in SF yesterday for a play. Incredible numbers of unhoused in the streets in the rain.

Sometimes, in our town, we'll notice that someone did not pick up after their dog. What we saw yesterday on two occasions were people who didn't pick up after themselves.... kinda startling. They also have workers on many street corners helping keep the unhoused and often mentally ill organized so that folks going to plays or shopping or going to their houses remain un harassed.

weird times.
 

jfgesquire

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Fairly common occurrence in this town..off to the muffler shop, $50 for a straight pipe, and problem solved.
In the People's Republic of New York State not only can you not just put in a straight pipe, a replacement cat must be brand new CARB certified. Used, salvaged, or recycled catalytic converters cannot be installed after June 1, 2013 on any vehicle. Failure to follow the regulations can result in a minimum fine of $500 for a first violation and up to $26,000 for each subsequent violation.
 

jguitarman

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I had mine stolen a year ago from a Honda Accord. Unfortunately in CA. you can't replace it with a used one and mine cost $1050 to replace just so some scumbag could make maybe $50 or so. I hate thieves with a passion.
What they do is bag up all the cats and take them to Mexico where they get stripped for the valuable metal. I'm glad to see a ring got busted. I hope they get more than a slap on the wrist.
 

BroGreg

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In the People's Republic of New York State not only can you not just put in a straight pipe, a replacement cat must be brand new CARB certified. Used, salvaged, or recycled catalytic converters cannot be installed after June 1, 2013 on any vehicle. Failure to follow the regulations can result in a minimum fine of $500 for a first violation and up to $26,000 for each subsequent violation.

Within 10 miles of my crib are steel mills, auto plants, chemical plants, and a huge oil refinery. Auto emissions barely make a dent in our air quality.
 

Obsessed

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There are some great security videos on YT to watch how quickly these are stolen also some videos that discuss the well organized fencing operations. Yup, getting pretty crazy down there in the concrete jungle.
 

BryMelvin

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We have a car restoration business. Here they wanted my business license and EIN to pay me for junked converters. At least some places are trying to do it right.
 

watercaster

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Around here they bust people for stealing used cooking oil. Something about a bio-diesel additive.
They case restaurants back lots and pump it out of the tanks. Go figure.o_O
 

tap4154

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Dying breed anyway. Pretty sure cars from the last 5 or more years have their cats right at the exhaust manifold. Probably not possible to cut them off any more.

My Ram pickup with a V6 has a small cat on each side right up next to the manifold. They'd have to lift the hood to get them, and it would be extremely difficult. I think the Ram pickups with the Hemi still have a one big cat underneath that's easy to steal.
 

MarkieMark

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It would seem to me that there must be somebody buying the stolen merchandise. No fence… no thief.

The volume of cat theft cases in my area plummeted when it became a requirement for the scrap/salvage businesses to id and document the sources they bought from.
There has been a modest resurgence, but nothing like the level it was.. Oh 10-15 yrs ago I guess.
Of course there are black market paths, but some of the current theft here is probably speculative at best.

But...
Some of you probably will be very little surprised that I "go there"

But, while highly effective, there is a little discussion to be had considering about the mining, manufacturing and expense of creating precious metal catalysts for ICE emissions control in the first place, much less the theft and loss to freely scrapping them again.
And instead routing the similar mining and manufacturing issues to batteries instead, for a net gain. And the general attitudes about the latter while the former is "old news" and so.. "No big deal"

Ever fully consider the ramifications of platinum and irridium spark plug technology that allows for ~100k mile or as much as 160k mile change intervals as opposed to the ~15k of days gone by?
 

Ironwolf

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Walked out with a co-worker one day. He went to his brand new Honda Civic. Got in the car and started it, the car ran like crap! :eek: Then he tried to move it, the brakes didn't work! :eek::eek: Come to find out someone had crawled under the dang car, cut the Cat right out and didn't care what else they cut through... brake lines and all!!! :eek::eek::eek: In broad daylight no less. It was crazy... unfortunately they never caught em. How the heck they did that with no one seeing/hearing a thing is still a mystery, including whatever tool they used. Yes... it certainly does happen, sadly, and I was there to see it. Nuts man.

Plenty of people saw and heard it. No one gave a damn, because people are invariably self-centered scum.
 

nvilletele

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I was in SF yesterday for a play. Incredible numbers of unhoused in the streets in the rain.

Sometimes, in our town, we'll notice that someone did not pick up after their dog. What we saw yesterday on two occasions were people who didn't pick up after themselves.... kinda startling. They also have workers on many street corners helping keep the unhoused and often mentally ill organized so that folks going to plays or shopping or going to their houses remain un harassed.

weird times.

Sadly, it's become the new normal.
 

Milspec

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Ha. The work that it takes to remove a cat converter would suck. Must be a big pay-off with all those "precious metals."

and "Cat scratch thiever?" Come on SJPD...do better.

My neighbor salvages cat converters for a side job. When you consider that most cars have 2 of them and some fetch $1,000 each....it is not surprising that thieves are so bold.

The neighbor buys junk cars for $600 and salvages the converters for $400 - $1,000 for each, and still sells the car for scrap after.

There are just a couple of flaws to the task. One, they have to be factory converters as most of the after-markets don't contain much platinum at all and you will never know which is which until you cut them off and check for the stamped numbers. The second problem is being able to read said numbers. I have spent hours trying to read some of them and it isn't easy. If you can't read them, they are worthless, and you will not know until you cut them off. He gets burned about 30% of the time, but still pockets a couple of grand each month.

All you need is a car trailer, a list of which vehicles have the most expensive converters (Explorers and Lexus are good examples), and a sawzall. Not a bad way to make some money really.
 

Fiesta Red

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They stole the catalytic converter from my brother-in-law’s late-model Toyota truck—along with six other trucks in the apartment complex he lives in.

He was not happy (understandably). It was weird because he works nights and they stole them in the middle of the day.
 




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