LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Give a thief two minutes, and your catalytic converter could be gone, says Aaron Glaser, owner of Glaser Collision Centers. 

What You Need To Know

  • Catalytic converter thefts on the rise in Louisville

  • Owner of Glaser Collision Centers says he's seen around 12-15 clients who say they're victims of the crime in about two months

  • He recommends parking in a well-lit area or garage to prevent theft and other safety measures

  • LMPD says it's also on the case

"It bolts right here, and this is the muffler rear exhaust of the car. They will cut the tube right here, so that will mess up the exhaust, the whole back half of the exhaust on the car. To cut up here, they will probably tear this heat shield up, so that's why when they steal it, they don't just steal the converter. They tear other things up in the process of getting the convertor off," he said.

In two months, Glaser has had around 12 to 15 clients who say they were victims of this crime. He said the precious metals the catalytic convertors contain, like rhodium and palladium, are worth more than gold once they are extracted.

"With all the climate change, all this stuff is becoming in more demand, so therefore, they are worth more. So, you got people sitting around on unemployment or laid off of their jobs because of COVID[-19], and the value of these things are going up, so more and more are getting stolen," Glaser said.

The street price from a scrap yard is about $20 to $200, but Glaser says it costs anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 to replace a catalytic converter. He recommends parking in a well-lit area or garage to prevent theft. He also describes security measures, which provide some deterrence but are not foolproof.

"There are plates you can put under your car, and there's a cabling system. We do have one company we worked with that had a lot of them stolen. They actually welded steel underneath the car. They just cut right through the steel and stole it. So, I think the plates probably work the best because if it's harder for them to get off, it's going to deter them because they want a quick, easy steal," Glaser said.

The Louisville Metro Police Department is also on the case, says spokesperson Dwight Mitchell.

"We've seen over 200 catalytic converter thefts that have been reported to our department over the month of January to parts of February. So far, this crime is on the uptick, and certainly, it's been very inconvenient for the victims of this crime," Mitchell said.

And owners of some types of vehicles should be especially careful.

"We've also seen it with vehicles, mainly SUVs and pick-up trucks. Vehicles that sit a little higher, so that it's easier for those individuals to access that area and commit that crime," Mitchell said.

According to scrap metal laws in Kentucky, scrap yards are required to hold their materials three days after purchase, and photos must be taken of those who are selling such materials. Scrap yards are also required to keep a two-year record of all video surveillance of these sellers.