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LPD: 800 reported catalytic converter thefts so far in 2021

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - So far this year there have been 800 catalytic converter thefts reported to LPD. That’s on pace to triple last year’s total of 274 and last year’s total was already a record.

It’s an alarming trend that area auto shops are trying to prevent. Some shops are even implementing a new way to stop it.

Just this month alone, there have been 129 converter thefts. 61 are from businesses and 68 are from houses and apartments. According to LPD, the total damage and losses is more than $40,000, all from a theft that takes minutes to occur.

Those at H.I.S. Auto Care in south Lincoln are seeing firsthand the rise in catalytic converter thefts. “We had a guy in here today (Thursday) that had his catalytic converter taken off,” said Rico Kotrous, H.I.S. Auto Care owner. “You can hear them coming a mile away. Their car is noisy and they hate it and they’re frustrated and disappointed and angry and you name it they have an issue with it.”

Doorstep Diner Catering is one of the businesses that have fallen victim to this trend. The thieves hit their largest catering van.

“The most frustrating part of this theft is the metal inside of it is only worth a couple hundred dollars, but to a business owner it’s a couple thousand dollars plus the hassle of having it out of your fleet,” said Laurie Fraser, CEO of Doorstep Diner Catering.

There aren’t many options to avoid converter thefts. However, H.I.S. has turned to metal shields for converters as an extra layer of protection.

“It would be impossible to get off,” said Kotrous. “It’s welded on, molded on and very secure.”

These metal shields even have the words “Can’t touch this” engraved on them. They do come at a price, each costs about $350 in addition to the converter replacement.

Other auto shops use “after market” converters which have less of the precious metals in them, which makes them less valuable for resale.

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