East Hawaii News

Police Offer Tips to Prevent Catalytic Converter Thefts

December 23, 2021, 10:30 AM HST
* Updated December 22, 3:00 PM
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A recent uptick in thefts of catalytic converters in East Hawai‘i has prompted Big Island police to offer tips on keeping your car safe.

So far this year there have been 29 reported incidents in the Hilo and Puna districts involving thefts of converters, with six of the reports being attempted thefts. In some cases, multiple converters were stolen during the same incident.

Of the 29 reported incidents, 36 catalytic converters were removed from vehicles.

Catalytic converters are a key component of a car’s emissions system, reducing the amount of harmful pollution emitted from the tailpipe. Thieves target these devices because they contain precious metals such as platinum and palladium, the prices of which have increased by hundreds of dollars an ounce in recent years, making them valuable to scrap metal dealers.

The parts also are easily accessible and lack identifying markings.

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Here are a few tips for how you can prevent catalytic converter theft:

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Park close to building entrances or the nearest road in public parking lots. This leaves your car in a location where many people can see it.
  • If you have a garage, keep your car parked inside with the door shut.
  • Add video surveillance to the area where you regularly park your car.
  • Install a catalytic converter-specific security device, or have it welded to the car frame. You can also engrave your car’s VIN number to the catalytic converter.
  • Report all suspicious activity to police.
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Police ask anyone with information about these thefts or information about anyone receiving stolen items to call the police department’s nonemergency line at 808-935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300.

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