While watching yesterday's humorous Zoom video that was posted by the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department, we learned that catalytic converters are being stolen from area vehicles. Because of the "precious" metals within, the thieves then sell them to scrapyards and other metal dealers for cash.

A catalytic converter is part of your vehicle's exhaust system, and it turns harmful pollutants within the exhaust into harmless gas.  When you look underneath your car or truck, the catalytic converter is the big shiny metal object that's attached within the middle of your car's exhaust system between the tailpipe and the engine.

Low life thieves who steal catalytic converters usually will go first for vehicles that stand high off the ground, like a truck or an SUV.  That way they have room to work, and fast.  Thieves will typically use a wrench and a saw.

How will you know if the catalytic converter has been stolen from your vehicle?  It's pretty simple.  When you start your car it's going to be MUCH louder than usual.

So while deputies from the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department search for the crooks, here are a few tips that you can try that make perfect sense to us.

  • Thieves take notice of vehicles that are parked in one stationary place for extended periods of time, like at work, in a shopping mall, or in a public parking lot.  Try to park in well lit places and close to a door that's used often.
  • Needless to say, if you have a garage then park inside of it, with the door closed at night.
  • Some folks in high risk areas actually have the catalytic converter welded to the frame of the vehicle making it very hard to remove, and then scratch the vehicle's VIN # on it, so that local dealers can take notice.
  • Make sure that your vehicle's alarm system is calibrated to detect the vibration of a powered saw cutting through the exhaust pipe. Most are already. If not, this may be a simple thing for your dealer to perform during your vehicle's next oil change.


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