Catalytic converter theft is a nationwide problem, but very few states have as many cases as Illinois. These tips may help save you replacement expense.

Do you remember the old saying,

"thieves will steal anything that isn't nailed down"?

That doesn't even come close to how the real world is now. In today's world,

"thieves will steal EVERYTHING!"

Last summer there were warnings about thieves stealing air conditioners right out of people's backyards. The thieves were looking for copper from inside the AC units.

Fast-forward a couple months and the focus has now shifted to the epidemic-sized growth of catalytic converter thefts in the U.S., up 300% from last year.

So, why do people want this part of our vehicles that controls harmful emissions so badly?

it's the stuff inside the catalytic converter that's valuable. The precious metal that’s inside, palladium, rhodium, and platinum, all can be sold for a tremendous profit.


Take a look at the two catalytic converter thieves in the video below:

If you'd like to try and keep this from happening to you, here's a few things you can do:

  • Avoid parking in shady locations. You don't want dark isolated areas. (And yes, I realize that this tip didn't really help the victim in the video above)
  • Get insurance to cover a replacement. Comprehensive insurance that covers the entire vehicle and will also cover the converter.
  • Install an anti-theft device. You could attach the device to a metal shield and then bolt the the whole thing to the frame that houses the converter.

This last tip seems like it would be a great theft deterrent.

According to, you should engrave the license plate information on the catalytic converter

"Try etching the license plate information – mainly the number – onto the body of the catalytic converter. This will make it difficult for the thieves who would face a nightmare trying to remove the engravings. Such etchings make it easier for law enforcement agencies to identify the stolen device and take action accordingly. Many thieves would not even attempt to steal the ones that already have imprints on them."


The Most Bizarre Items Ever Stolen From Illinois Residents

My mom once told me that "people will steal anything that's not nailed down." Times certainly have changed since then. The thieves now have nail removers.

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