DEL CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Catalytic converters are continually getting stolen across the Oklahoma City metro.
One Del City mother tells KFOR her vehicle’s converter got stolen at 7 a.m. – and it didn’t take them long to get it.
She says two men pulled up into her driveway in Del City, got out of the car, and stole the catalytic converter from her SUV.
It happened in broad daylight and was caught on camera.
Home video surveillance shows one of the men reach under the car with a tool to get the catalytic converter out.
“I think it’s like the discomfort is kind of the biggest thing for me is like they just pulled up like as if they lived here, like it was nothing,” said Joy Olson, victim of catalytic converter theft.
Olson filed a police report and hopes to get her car part back.
“It starts. It’s just really loud. But it’s like it kind of fumes. And you can smell the gas and stuff, which isn’t actually good for the environment. So, they recommend you not to drive it. So, it’s just sitting here,” said Olson.
Major Michael Arterbury with the Del City Police Department said they’ve had eight catalytic converter thefts just this month and the thieves have been difficult to catch.
“There’s a few that occur in the daytime or evening, but for us it’s been mostly at night… We’ve had a lot of them at hotels, but they hit residential areas as well,” said Arterbury.
Auto experts tell News 4 it only takes the thieves around a minute to a minute and a half to steal one off a vehicle.
“It doesn’t take very long to do it. So, it’s you know, it doesn’t really matter where they hit,” said Arterbury.
KFOR spoke with several auto part shops around the city asking if they carried catalytic converter locks, most of them don’t carry it in store, but you can order it online.
However, 405 Mufflers owner, Steven Austin doesn’t suggest them anyways and said thieves will still steal the converter, it will just take them longer to get it.
“It’ll just slow them down. I’ve seen some of them put sensors or alarms in them. So, it’ll sound an alarm when it starts on. But even like a lot of the big box trucks, the companies, they’ll order them in bulk and put them on and all they do is cut a little hole out enough to squeeze the converter out and they’re still gone,” said Steven Austin, owner of 405 Mufflers in Del City.
Thankfully, Austin says there are other ways to protect your vehicle, like using a skid plate.
“The skid plate is going to cover, you know, basically the whole underside of your vehicle. It’s going to bolt straight to the frame because they’re not going to carry a socket set with them and unbolt a skid plate, they’ll probably crawl under it, see the skid plates and then leave,” said Austin.
Austin said the thieves are looking for the type of metal catalytic converters hold.
“The precious metals inside the converter, when the exhaust system they make a chain reaction to turn the kind of the dirty gas into clean gas and the metals are platinum base. So, it’s platinum, palladium and rhodium which are, you know, like three of the most precious metals in the world. And it’s just kind of like low hanging fruit,” said Austin.
Austin also said business has been booming since the start of these thefts.
“They’re really easy to get under and steal. That’s really about 75% of what we do now. Big box trucks, motor homes like your Honda SUV, stuff like that. They don’t hesitate,” said Austin.
Some stores in the Oklahoma City area sell both the catalytic converter locks and skid plates, but they sell out quickly. Your best bet is to order online.
Officials say if possible, park your vehicle in the garage. It offers the most protection.