Catalytic converters are being stolen from cars across Amarillo

Catalytic converters are being stolen from cars across Amarillo

AMARILLO, TX - Thieves are targeting one car part that every vehicle has.

Thieves go under a car, remove this part with a battery operated saw, and are gone within one minute.

It's called a catalytic converter, and it attaches to the car's exhaust system to make the fuel emissions more Eco-friendly.

Inside, you can find three precious metals: platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

Together these valuable metals can be sold to metal shops and recycling plants for maybe $75 a piece.

That price fluctuates depending on metal prices.

Right now prices are down so the metal isn't as valuable, but that isn't stopping local thieves.

One victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, said their catalytic converter was taken from the car right outside their house on Wednesday in broad daylight.

They said police told them two other people had reported the same crime that night.

Another anonymous victim said thieves had tried to take the part from two cars at their family's house.

They succeeded the first time, but the second time a family member caught the crime before the part was totally removed.

Catalytic converters, in their most basic form, can cost anywhere from $200 to $400 to replace, not including labor.

The bigger the car, the more converters available to be stolen, and the more they will cost to get replaced.

SUV's, trucks and other big cars that you can easily get underneath are the ones that thieves target.

They won't take a replacement catalytic converter. Those parts put on by auto shops don't contain as much of the precious metal as the original equipment.

You can tell replacements from originals because of their difference in color, and see where a mechanic has welded a new one on.

While there are some locks you can buy to protect this part, the saw they use can cut right through them.

Keeping your car locked in the garage is the best precaution you can take.

According to the District Attorney's office, stealing one catalytic converter just based on the price is a Class B Misdemeanor. This leads to the potential for up to 180 days in the county jail, and a fine of up to $2,000.

The punishments become more severe depending on the number of converters stolen and their collective price.

If you have had this happen to you, or a see this crime occur, report it to the police immediately.