According to NICB, an aggressive thief can easily collect 10 to 15 or more converters in a single day. They often target sport utility vehicles because their ground clearance is easier to gain access to the converter without having to use a jack.
Threes states had more converter thefts than Ohio — California, Texas and Illnois.
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Vehicles can be damaged in the theft process, which tacks on additional costs to owners who already have to replace to relatively inexpensive converter.
In 2008, the amount of converter thefts peaked in Ohio with 239. In 2015, about 188 thefts were reported.
Thieves target catalytic converter because of the materials they contain. Each contain a small amount of one of three precious mentals: platinum, palladium or rodium, according to the NICB. They scrap the metal and cash it in for anywhere from $20 to $240. The recycling value depends on the amount and the type of metal used in the converter.
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Experts recommend drivers etch the converter with a vehicle identification number to deter criminals from stealing it.