KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
March 22, 2022
By Natalie Cook Clark
Catalytic Converter thefts continue to plague the area with Katyites catching thieves on video and sharing their experiences on social media. Katy deputies say this is a big problem and share how to safeguard your vehicle.
Photo courtesy: Luis J.
Katy resident, Syaim Sibghatullah went to go to work on Friday to find that catalytic converter was stolen. His car had been parked in the driveway of his Morton Ranch Creek home.
Katy Residents Talk Catalytic Converter Theft
“My neighbors got the whole thing on their camera,” says Sibghatullah. They were caught on video between 3:00 a.m.- 3:10 a.m. on Mountain Elm Trail.
See a thief steal a catalytic converter in the top right-side of the video. Video courtesy: Syaim Sibghatullah
“The entire thing took less than 5 mins,” says Sibghatullah. “They sawed it off you can hear it in the video it was pretty loud.”
Parking Lots are Targets
Unfortunately, this crime continues to become more prevalent around the area. People flock to social media to share their experiences of catalytic converters being stolen out of their driveways and major parking lots including local hospitals.
"Criminals target often target parking lots, strip centers, and restaurants," says Robert Henslee with Precinct 5. "They look for places where people are occupied."
Last year, Katy ISD released information to help their high school students and faculty to protect their vehicles as catalytic converters were being stolen from school parking lots. Read about that here.
Some people do get lucky. Luis J. in Katy Trails caught on camera a suspicious individual looking around his vehicle at 1:50 a.m. Sunday morning.
See a suspicious man check under a vehicle in Katy Trails. Video courtesy of Luis J.
“A car slowed down and parked across the street,” says Luis. “He got out to look under the car to steal the catalytic converter. I have a cheap 3rd party one so he decided he did not want it.”
As this individual appeared to be looking at catalytic converters, Luis shared the video on social media to help warn and alert his neighbors.
What is a Catalytic Converter?
Katy residents continue to see a rise in these crimes. A catalytic converter is a device used to reduce exhaust emissions from your vehicle. They are most commonly used on internal combustion engines fueled by petrol or diesel.
They are high theft items because they are valuable to scrap metal dealers. They contain precious metals, including rhodium, platinum, and palladium that can all be sold.
Top Targeted Vehicles
Some of the top cars targeted are: Toyota Tundra, Toyota Prius, Toyota Tacoma, Ford F-250, Honda Element and CRV just to name some.
"Large Toyota trucks are often targeted for their converters because of the amount of platinum and ease of access," explains Henslee.
“When they are stolen the damage can be costly,” says Sgt. Tracy Hicks with Houston Police Department. He reported that damage to a Toyota Tundra cost over $10,000 to repair.
There are precautions that you can take to not guarantee but help decrease your chance of being victimized.
Park your car in a well-lit area and if all possible keep it in your garage.
Spray the converter with bright, high temperature paint to mark it. This will help authorities and shops ID stolen converters.
When in a parking lot, park near the store and not near the exit. Criminals will look for an easy exit.
Engrave your license plate number or the last 4 digits of your VIN on the converter to help authorities ID it.
There are devices such as a plate that you can attach to the bottom of your vehicle to restrict access to the converter.
Have you had your catalytic converter stolen? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We continue to follow this ongoing concern to our community.