Thieves Target Car Parts Because Precious Industrial Metals Are More Valuable Than Gold


  • Thieves are targeting catalytic converters in cars, as the prices of some rare metals used in them have reached record highs this year.
  • Catalytic converter thefts have quadrupled in New York City in the past year.
  • Thefts have also been reported from other parts of the world, including the UK and Japan.

Thieves are preying on auto parts as prices for rare metals in catalytic converters hit new highs this year.

Thefts of devices, which are part of a car’s exhaust fumes that convert smog into less harmful emissions, have quadrupled in the past year, according to the New York Post.

As of October 10 this year, 2,170 catalytic converters have been stolen statewide, up from 501 last year, the newspaper reported, citing the NYPD.

“The whole process takes less than two minutes,” Detective Thomas Kelly of the state’s Motor Crimes Unit told The Post.

Similar increases in thefts have been reported in California, Maine, and Illinois.

Even though there are only a few grams of expensive metals like rhodium, palladium, and platinum in catalytic converters, they sell for high prices even in the scrap market.

Rhodium hit a record price of around $ 30,000 an ounce in March, and palladium hit record prices of around $ 3,000 an ounce in May. Although both have peaked, they are still more expensive than gold which currently costs around $ 1,800 an ounce. During this time, platinum sells for around $ 1,000 an ounce.

The spike in catalytic converter theft is not just hitting the United States.

In the UK, the theft of auto parts has increased this year, reported the BBC. Car organization RAC and insurer Ageas said in April that crime accounted for 30% of thefts from private vehicles, up from 20% before the pandemic.

In Japan, such thefts have also been reported, according to the Nikkei. The country’s National Police Agency is calling on recycling companies to verify the identity of those who sell scrap metal and keep records of transactions, the outlet added.


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