Why are catalytic converters the target of so many thefts?

Video from WALB
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 5:55 PM CST
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HOLMERVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - A Homerville couple was found dead in their car from carbon monoxide poisoning Wednesday after a catalytic converter was stolen from their vehicle.

Robert and Belva Mizell were died the same day Belva celebrated her 55th birthday.

Catalytic converters are found under your car. It helps heat up your ignition and keeps harmful toxins from entering your car.

WALB News 10 spoke to a mechanic about why people would want to steal a catalytic converter.

“If the car is off the ground or higher, you can slide under and cut it off and then you bring it to the scrapyard and get like $300-$400 for it,” Cash King, a mechanic, said.

King said catalytic converters contain precious metals, such as platinum and rhodium. Before a buyer accepts one, they should test them to make sure those costly materials are still inside.

Mechanics recommend not getting in your vehicle if you hear an excessively loud noise when putting your key in the ignition. This sound indicates there is an issue. The best thing to do is to get your car towed and serviced by a professional.

Clinch County Sheriff Stephen Tinsley couldn’t speak with WALB on Friday but he made a Facebook post.

“We have recently had a surge of catalytic converter thefts in our area. Please keep in mind that stealing catalytic converters is not a victimless crime. You are putting lives in danger,” Tinsley said.

There’s no word yet if anyone is being sought to be held responsible in the Mizells’ case.

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