Watch Thieves Steal A Catalytic Converter In Less Than 30 Seconds

The emissions control portion of your exhaust can fetch big bucks at the scrap yard

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Image for article titled Watch Thieves Steal A Catalytic Converter In Less Than 30 Seconds
Image: Pierce Co Sheriff

Pierce County Sheriff’s in the state of Washington are asking for its Twitter followers to take a good look at these catalytic converter thieves who hit a family’s Ford F-250, taking the emissions control device in less than 30 seconds.

The video would be pretty incredible if the crime wasn’t such a frustrating situation to be in for the owner of that Ford F-250:


 KHQ6 reports that catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in the state, and Washington isn’t alone. A dealership in Texas lost 20 catalytic converters in a matter of minutes earlier this week and another dealer in Virginia was hit two weeks ago. I had two neighbors recently lose their converters to exactly the same sort of two-person operation: a driver and the sawzall operator. They shimmied under the car and snatched up the part in seconds.

In case you were not aware, a catalytic converter is so prized by thieves because it uses valuable metals to collect pollutants from your car’s exhaust. From Chemistry LibreTexts:

A catalytic converter is a simple device that uses basic redox reactions to reduce the pollutants a car makes. It converts around 98% of the harmful fumes produced by a car engine into less harmful gases. It is composed of a metal housing with a ceramic honeycomb-like interior with insulating layers. This honeycomb interior has thin wall channels that are coated with a washcoat of aluminum oxide. This coating is porous and increases the surface area, allowing more reactions to take place and containing precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium. No more than 4-9 grams of these precious metals are used in a single converter.


Because it affects emissions standards, removing a catalytic converter is illegal in every state. While you can drive your car without one, it will be loud as hell with this brand new hole in its exhaust system and, if you live in a state with emissions inspections or car inspections in general, you could be out thousands in fines if you don’t get it replaced.

Parts and labor can also cost thousands depending on your car and repair shop. It’s such an expensive headache for the car owner. I hope they catch these jerks.