Skip to comments.Catalytic converters prove to be easy targets for thieves
Posted on 06/25/2012 9:18:28 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
Since May, several dozen catalytic converters have been stolen from vehicles in the Milwaukee area by thieves who have targeted the equipment for its scrap metal value.
Converters contain platinum, or palladium, and rhodium. There's only a fraction of an ounce of platinum in them, but once processed, the metal is worth about $1,450 an ounce.
Thieves get from $50 to $200 for a converter when they sell it to a metal recycler.
Some of the thefts have occurred in the daytime, while vehicles were parked at restaurants and hotels.
Other thefts have occurred at night - sometimes on city streets and often in business parking lots.
Earlier this month, a catalytic converter was stolen from a company vehicle at Hoppmann Group, a Wauwatosa printing company. The utility van was in a parking lot that "lights up like the sun" with security lighting, company President John Van Der Puy said.
"Now we keep the van inside a building under lock and key," he said.
The converter thefts are just one example of how brazen people have become in stealing valuable metals, and of how difficult it is for police and public officials to stop the illegal activity.
Last year from January through September, an estimated $3.5 million worth of metal items were stolen for their scrap value, according to Milwaukee police. More than 10% of residential burglaries in the city were tied to metal theft.
Thieves have burglarized dozens of homes, some occupied and some vacant, stripping the plumbing, wiring, appliances, water heater, furnace and heating radiators for scrap metal value.
One pair of thieves confessed to having stripped the metal from 50 vacant residences in Milwaukee and four suburbs. They were heroin addicts, and they were able to sell the metal to salvage yards without
(Excerpt) Read more at jsonline.com ...
United Milwaukee Scrap LLC has hired an armed security service to watch the scrap yard at night after losing more than $300,000 worth of recyclable materials last year.
Wisconsin ping: In England they were stealing the lead roofs off of churches last year...
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
A friend of mine had his hacksawed off. It cost him over $400 to have a new one put on.
I just put new pipes from the manifold back including cat and muffler for 300 bucks on a Jeep Cherokee. Took about 2 hours
Around here, thieves use battery powered sawzalls. You can cut one of in about two minutes. Pickups and SUV’s are the target of choice because you can crawl under them easily. To slow these thefts down, you have to now prove you own all scrap metal to sell it. Not real sure how you do that. There all also smelters popping up where you can have different metals melted down. People are stealing man hole covers, drain covers and everything else not welded down.
Who is the manufacturer of the converter? I’ve seen those $72 “universal” catalytic converters on eBay. Wondering if they have any PMs inside!
The best deterrent for these thieves is to have them start considering alternative metals to collect such as inflight high velocity lead projectiles.
I do not believe that propane or natural gas fueled vehicles NEED a catalytic converter to comply with Federal or even California emission requirements. That source of fuel just burns that much cleaner to begin with.
Catalytic converters were a compromise, and their adoption also forced the removal of tetraethyl lead from motor fuel.
Setting up the engine fueling for absolutely stoichiometric combustion, in which there is complete combustion of the fuel, is theoretically possible, but difficult to achieve consistently in practice, particularly in internal combustion engines which operate at varying degrees of load and operating speeds.
Those will work for old cars..new ones no. The engine will sense a difference in exhaust back pressure and possibly not run right unless you go in with a laptop/tuning device and change the computer specs just as when people put in a high performance chip.
So maybe just ODB1. Will take a look.
Magnaflow Cat, Dynomax muffler and exhaust pipe, Walker front pipe.
The CAT is non CARB compliant but works just fine for Ct emissions tests.
Can I just remove the converter from my cars and have the pipes joined with a plain section of muffler pipe?
The Baraqqi Depression grinds on.
The catcon theft biz must be fairly profitable.
This happens a lot in Indianapolis also.
Sure you can remove the catalytic converter join the two sections of tailpipe together, and the vehicle will run just fine.
But that is definitely illegal, and earns you a pretty hefty fine, or maybe other penalties, and you STILL have to restore the original configuration.
Not on the newer cars...the engine computers are so precise it will pick up the difference in back pressure and may not run right or might not get good gas mileage. Of course if you know what you are doing you can reprogram the computer/replace the stock chip with a tunable chip..
It seems to me that the pinch-point of all of this are the scrap yards. They are buying stuff that they know is stolen and appear to be doing so with impunity. Come down hard on them and the 2nd hand market dries up. If the bad guys can’t sell it they won’t be as inclined to steal it.
Why is that so hard?
Milwaukee detectives must have some skin in the game.
My wife cashed in the cans last week. She had to show her driver’s license before they would accept the aluminum heater core I’d taken out of the daughter’s Grand Cherokee.