Kansas City, Missouri 2021-02-23 05:58:00 –
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com)-A catalytic converter that is important for getting your car running properly has been stolen by thieves looking for easy cash. Replacing a victim can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.
“I use this van for my work,” said Lars Court, whose catalytic converter was recently stolen in South St. Louis. “As soon as I turned the key to activate it, I knew what had happened.” It’s happening throughout the St. Louis region. The Toyota Prius is a big target, but commercial vehicles from businesses and charities have also been hit hard.
“Generally speaking, that’s a problem,” said Grant Bissell of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement agencies have seen a surge in crime. Since the beginning of this year, St. Louis police have reported the theft of nearly 60 catalytic converters. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, 70 catalytic converters in the area have been stolen in recent months.
“That’s what we’re looking at very hard right now,” Bissel said. “Apparently that’s a big problem across the country right now. I think it’s a relatively easy score when it comes to cash,” he said.
Bissel says it’s all just a business. Inside the catalytic converter are several precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium, which have recently gained market value.
“The reason behind this crime is the reason behind many crimes. That money. Someone is buying them,” Bissell said.
News 4 decided to go straight to the man in the middle. News 4 Investigates used a catalytic converter borrowed from a local car body repair shop to find out what the demolition yard was doing. I found a local scrap yard that was willing to buy it for a fortune with few or no questions. But others didn’t even talk about buying it.
Some experts say that buying and selling regulations may vary from place to place. The city of St. Louis bans the sale of catalytic converters unless they are in the vehicle repair business. And the scrapyards in one city seemed to be playing according to the rules, at least in part.
“It’s definitely worth it, but I have to have a business permit or work with some kind of car or title of the car it’s off to buy it,” Salvage said. One woman in the yard said.
“If you did, there was an epidemic,” said Don Mayhew, Congressman of Plaskey County. He is currently aiming to tighten the law throughout the state. “If you don’t have teeth, that’s another piece of paper we submit.”
Now in Missouri, people who buy metals such as copper and catalytic converters need to keep track of who sells them, and even remove their driver’s licenses and license plates. The idea is to track who occasionally sells catalytic converters from legally owned junk cars and who sells dozens of vehicles that may have been stolen. ..
“The problem is that it’s in the Salvage Yard’s file cabinet, not that it’s inaccessible, and that it’s not very convenient for the sheriff’s office at that point,” Mayhew said. Mayhew proposed a bill requiring Salvage Yard to identify the sources of catalytic converters and take additional steps to send their records to the local sheriff’s office each month.
According to Mayhew, criminals who stole the catalytic converter were asked if they would deter having their names sent to the local sheriff’s office at the time of sale. “Well, I hope so. That’s the purpose.” If you don’t do so under the bill, you could be criminally liable to your scrap dealer.
Still, it’s not clear if all dismantlers are following the laws already in the book.
“We can put in four, five or six of these catalytic converters and have no questions,” Coats said. And victims say they have to do more to truly curb this crime. “I’m the kind of person who fixes problems when they occur. It’s not that difficult. Let’s do it.”
News 4 tried to talk to some scrapyards, but they didn’t go to anyone’s camera. But one said, “We don’t touch them, we don’t want trouble,” and they wouldn’t buy a catalytic converter. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says it has taken it very seriously and is proceeding with an investigation into a local group doing this. But they sometimes say it’s also out-of-state people.
In the meantime, there are several ways to protect yourself.
According to Allstate Insurance:
- If possible, park in a bright place or near the building
- If you have a garage in your house, park your car inside and keep the garage door closed.
- Weld the catalytic converter to the car frame. It can be difficult to steal.
- Consider engraving the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter. This alerts the scrap dealer to theft and makes it easier to identify the owner.
- It works when you adjust the car alarm and detect vibration.
If you have any questions, please email us. Investigates@kmov.com..
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