Toyota pick-ups seem to be the prime targets of thieves who are using hack saws to cut catalytic converters from vehicles to sell to recyclers for the precious metals they contain. Rick Shadaeu owner of Sierra Muffler in Grass Valley says he is installing many new catalytic convertors for local residents who have been victims.
“I sell between five and eight catalytic converters a week. Of those, I would say at least five of them from thefts. They can get pretty brazen, too. I had a customer that had stopped for no more than 20 minutes in Sacramento, parked at a meter, ran into the store, and when he came out, his Toyota truck was much louder than when he parked. So it seems the thieves would have had to parallel park in the road and probably double parked next to the truck, slid under it and cut it with a saws all.”
Shadaeu says the recyclers need to take some responsibility for the thefts.
“Some blame can be spread, not just from the thieves but to the people they are selling them to. If you have a kid coming to you, obviously, he has no reason to have a bunch of copper or a bunch of catalytic converters and he’s selling these things to you, you wouldn’t buy them. You’d just turn away.”
The converters, made to reduce fumes from car engines contain small amounts of platinum, rhodium and palladium and can fetch from $30 to $60 from recyclers. The Toyota converters are more densely packed with the precious metals and may be easier to steal with the high profile of the truck, making them a good target. Shadaeu says it costs around $300 to replace a stolen converter.