Catalytic converter thefts have been happening all over the country and vehicles of all makes and models have been victimized. It’s even happened to some of Jalopnik’s staff. But out west, specifically in the haven coastal states for hybrids and EVs — like California and Oregon, thieves are targeting the Toyota Prius, the L.A. Times reports.
And it’s not just any Prius or new for that matter. Thieves want the converters out of the second and third generation 2004-2009 Prius. And remember, this was when the Prius was hotter than the heat wave we’re experiencing. The second-gen Prius was sought after by everyone, from celebrities who wanted to appear green because that was the thing, to the regular folk. People were waiting months to get their hands on them. So, between the sales of the two generations combined with Toyota’s reliability, there are still millions on the road for thieves to choose from.
Data shows converter thefts as a whole are up across the country. In other parts of the country, the main vehicles being targeted are Honda Accords and Ford F-150s. But the data, provided by Carfax, shows something interesting. In the west, the Toyota Prius is the number one target for these thefts. You’re probably wondering why a random hybrid model would be a theft target. It’s all about the payout.
The precious metals found in catalytic converters are found in higher concentrations in ones that are fitted to hybrids. The Times says that while a converter from an F-150 can fetch $150, a Prius converter can get a person more than $1,000. Insurance companies are getting hit hard by theft claims from Hawaii to New Mexico. Data from the Highway Loss Data Institute shows that thefts spiked some 850 percent from 2019 to 2021. And while police departments are suggesting security measures like parking in well-lit areas and locked garages, sadly nothing seems to be stopping the thefts.