Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Catalytic Converters On the Black Market

I had a very startling experience after work yesterday.  I had just arrived at my car after my easy 25 minute bus commute from Denver.  I open my door and was blasted with hot, foul air from inside my 4-Runner.  GROSS!  I had picked up a dead snake to make a study skin out of and forgotten all about it.  The stench of rotting flesh was overpowering so I quickly put my key in the ignition to start the car.  I turn the key and started a Harley.  It was LOUD!  WTF!  I quickly turn off the car as I shook my head trying to figure out what just happened.

I must have a hole in my exhaust system.  That was the only explanation at the time but it did NOT explain the thundering roar of a Harley inside my 4-Runner.  I start the car again and the noise was deafening.  I once again turn the car off but quickly roll down all the windows.  Regardless of how loud my car was, it was not making me forget the STENCH of the rotting snake.

I dispose of the snake carcass in some nearby bushes and then return to my bigger problem.  Why does my normally very quiet 4-Runner sound like a Harley?

I drop down on the ground and it is blantantly obvious what has happened.  Some assholes stole my catalytic converter by cutting it out with a saw!  SHIT!

Photos of the cut pipes where my catalytic converter once existed.

I turned to Google to learn more about catalytic converter thefts and was quickly overwhelmed with data.  This is a common occurrence.  I guess I have been lucky but yesterday the thieves certainly had big balls.  Actually maybe not - as I was relaying my story to the police officer sent to take pictures, he admitted that if he saw people working underneath a car in a parking lot, he wouldn't think twice about it.  NO WONDER THIS IS SUCH A COMMON THEFT!  The cops drive right by and probably say hi to the thieves!  I may just have to send this blog to our police chief to raise his awareness.  

A failed theft attempt and repair job

Thieves get up to $300 per catalytic converter.  That is approximately $150 per minute if it only takes two cuts and one minute per cut to remove the converter.  The thieves that stole from me made an additional cut that they weren't getting paid for but maybe they had to start over after saying hi the police officer that drove by while they were working.  Scrap metal dealers want the platinum that is inside the catalytic converters.  I might be in the wrong business.

This theft is so common that devices have been patented to prevent thieves from an easy payday.  The CatClamp is a highly reviewed and praised device from automakers and mechanics.  Check out these examples of theft deterrent devices - I guess I might need to get one soon.

Until I can get my can repaired, I will be driving a 4-Runner that sounds like a Harley.  Wave if you hear me drive by.

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