California leads the nation for most catalytic converter thefts — with 24,102 theft claims in 2022 alone and a whopping 51,585 for the three consecutive years of 2020 to 2022.
Top States for Catalytic Converter Thefts
Other states that ranked among the top five for catalytic converter thefts in 2022 include Texas, which came in second with 8,027 thefts. The Lone Star State was followed by Pennsylvania with 2,757 thefts, Illinois with 2,021, and Washington with 1,943.
Catalytic converters are bolted to the underside of cars or trucks as part of their exhaust system. Thieves are well aware that these functional devices contain precious metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium — all more valuable than gold.
Fleets Not Immune to Theft
While consumers are often victims of this crime, fleets are hardly immune. Fleet operators should remind drivers not to park in dark, deserted areas and never to leave the vehicle idling and unattended — which can be a particularly tempting habit for busy delivery drivers. Unfortunately, vehicle thieves can easily ride away with an idling vehicle and strip it of its catalytic converter later.
“This new data is just a snapshot of an underreported crime that affects communities across the nation,” said David J. Glawe, President and CEO of NICB. “While a catalytic converter can be removed in just a few minutes, for vehicle owners, the cost is much more than the replacement parts.”
According to NICB, metal recyclers pay from $50 to $250 for a catalytic converter — and up to $800 for one removed from a hybrid vehicle. Moreover, replacing a stolen catalytic converter can be costly, ranging from $1,000 to upwards of $3,500, depending on the type of vehicle.
Presently, legislative efforts are underway to address the rising number of catalytic converter thefts. New bills and amendments are being introduced to increase requirements of catalytic converters sellers, impose due diligence obligations on metal recycling entities, and establish penalties for unauthorized sellers and buyers engaging in fraudulent practices related to catalytic converter purchases, notes the NICB.