Thieves Continue to Jack Cars, Stealing Catalytic Converters


Samantha Antil, Digital Editor

Catalytic converters have been the goal of multiple car robberies, stolen with the intent to be sold to scrap yards at a hefty price. These devices help to control exhaust emissions and can contain various precious metals. Depending on their make and model, these seemingly insignificant converters can fetch up to $250 a pop, and compared to other car parts are fairly easy to retrieve and steal. The repair costs rise significantly for the vehicle owner, with some shops charging as high as two grand or more. And yet, failing to replace a converter can have even more disastrous —and costly—consequences.


Cases of converter theft have risen considerably in Easthampton, not to mention Medford. Toyota Priuses seem to be a primary target in both cities. According to most reports, these incidents take place during the night, and the stolen catalytic converters do not appear to be sold locally. The authorities are urging residents to be wary of suspicious activity, and to contact local police departments with any information. 


But what can be done in the meantime? 


First and foremost, it’s always helpful to understand your vehicle, how it operates, and how it’s laid out. Catalytic converts can be found both on the underside of the car, or beneath the hood depending on your vehicle. Some sites recommend construstructing DIY rebar cages to protect your converter (and anything you may want to secure); though different metals will have different reactions to heat, so those who attempt to take on such projects should make sure to be aware of what they’re working with beforehand. 


Perhaps a more practical approach, dash cams are a useful tool in keeping tabs on your car and anyone who may be around it. A quick online search can provide a handful of decent dash cams for under $50, which compared to the cost of a potential car repair makes it a relatively inexpensive option to consider. 


There are no surefire ways to defend against theft, but looking into precautions is a good way to decrease the odds of experiencing theft yourself. The more difficult a converter is to retrieve, the more likely a thief will abandon it in search of an easier steal. Regardless of what physical forms of vehicle protection one takes, one of the best countermeasures a car owner can have is to simply be aware of what’s going on in their community and what to look out for. Staying informed helps to ensure that you will be more knowledgeable of potential threats, and may just save you—and your car—a buck or two.