Catalytic converter thieves the target of new law - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Catalytic converter thieves the target of new law

A new law is designed to make it more difficult for thieves in Tennessee to make money off stolen car parts. In particular, the gold mine underneath your car.

Big time money is being made from the precious metals inside catalytic converters, and thieves know it.

It takes only minutes to hop under a car and cut one off.

"Wednesday morning we came out to the lot and started a few of the cars and we discovered 7 of them had the converters cut off," Ken Myers of Dobbs Honda said.

The crooks struck not once but twice at Dobbs Honda. Each time, they hit seven cars.

It is happening all over the Mid-South.
"We have had people break in to our lot and get the converters off before we can get them," Phil Massey at U-Pull-It said.

Massey runs an auto parts salvage business. He has to cut off converters from cars as soon as they arrive to stop the thefts.
"It would not surprise me if they don't get anywhere from $20 to $50 or more for a converter," Massey said.

You might wonder why are converters so valuable. Well take a look inside. It is because it has precious metals in it, including platinum.

Platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Some of the most precious metals in the world.  

Scrap buyers resell the metals to refineries for thousands of dollars.

The metals are then used to make fancy jewelry.

The price of platinum has increased more than 100 percent in the past ten years. And the thefts of catalytic converters are increasing, too.

Under the new law, people selling to scrap dealers have to present a valid photo ID and provide a thumbprint.

The dealers also have to keep transaction records for three years.

Still, the high price of the metals combined with a slowing economy is going to make this cat and mouse game a tough one to win.

Click here to e-mail Janice Broach.

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