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Catalyst thefts on the Rise in Pittsburg – Pittsburg Morning Solar.

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PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburgh Police Department announced this week that the number of catalytic converters stolen from vehicle exhaust systems is increasing.

Thieves are looking for catalysts because they contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium or rhodium, the department said in a press release. With a battery powered saw, they can remove a vehicle's catalytic converter in just a minute or two.

Pittsburg isn't the only city in the country or Kansas that has seen catalytic converter thefts on the rise recently. In Wichita, 201 were reportedly stolen in 2019 – almost 10 times as many as the previous year. That number more than doubled again in 2020 when more than 500 people were reportedly stolen in Wichita. Thefts are also reportedly increasing in the Kansas City area.

In Topeka, thieves appear to have targeted vehicles used to transport seniors, much like major cities in nearby states such as Omaha and St. Louis, which reportedly targeted strollers and buses used to transport disabled people.

"Police say that increasing the value of metals found in catalysts has brought this issue back to the fore," said Fox4 Kansas City. "Detectives also say they have noticed an increase in property crimes since the pandemic, as desperate people sometimes resort to theft."

It is difficult to determine the exact number of catalytic converter thefts nationwide.

"The National Insurance Crime Bureau, the main source of data on vehicle thefts reported to insurance companies, stopped tracking converter thefts after 2015," said Car and Driver. "That year the NICB wrote that nearly 4,000 catalytic converters were reported stolen nationwide – a 23 percent increase since 2008 – but that the real number was" much higher "."

Ford passenger cars, buses and super-duty trucks are the main vehicles in Pittsburg right now because their catalysts are high in precious metals, the PPD press release said. Companies with these types of vehicles have been the victims of recent thefts, but all vehicles should be viewed as potential targets.

Replacing a stolen catalytic converter can cost up to $ 2,000, according to PPD, though a thief is likely to get only about a tenth of that from a metal recycler, according to automotive information website Edmunds.com.

The Pittsburg Police Department is encouraging citizens to park vehicles in well-lit areas in the face of security cameras, block the undercarriage of their vehicle to make it difficult for thieves to reach the catalytic converter, and calibrate vehicle alarms to go off when they detect vibration and when you park in a parking lot to park near the street where routine traffic can prevent theft.

Some vehicle owners go a step further, a Kansas City police sergeant told Fox4, etching their car's chassis number on catalytic converters or welding it to the car's frame.

The PPD reminds citizens to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity by calling the police on 620-231-1700. Anyone with information about criminal activity or stolen property can post an anonymous notice on the department's tip line, 620-231-TIPS (8477).

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