ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. - Police in Clarkstown are warning local business owners and the community as a whole about a rash of recent larcenies, where thieves have been stealing catalytic converters from cars in the Nanuet area.
On Tuesday, the Clarkstown Police Department issued an alert to residents, cautioning about the recently stolen car parts, which can fetch thieves upwards of $100 apiece when sold at a metal scrap yard.
For more than four decades, any vehicle produced in the United States is required to have a catalytic converter as part of its exhaust system, working as an emissions-control device that contains “precious metals that act as catalysts,” police said.
According to police, with the price of precious metals continuing to increase, suspects have been helping themselves to the converters, which contain enough platinum, palladium and rhodium to make it worth the risk for the thieves. Motorists may notice their catalytic converter is missing if their vehicle starts with “a gravelly roar.”
Police said that thieves seeking out catalytic converters typically look for vehicles that have been parked for a prolonged periods in large lots, such as shopping centers, mass transit commuter lots or company parking lots. Vehicles that sit higher off the ground, such as pick-ups and SUVs are especially vulnerable, because thieves don’t require a jack to gain access to the part.
Thieves require just a few cuts with a battery-powered saw, and the catalytic converter can be removed in under a minute, according to police. To combat thefts, police have recommended that businesses install a fenced area with a video surveillance system.
Anyone that suspects they have been the victim of a catalytic converter theft can contact police at (845) 639-5800.