Catalytic converters are devices that reduce pollution-causing emissions. Since 1975, all vehicles produced in the U.S. must have a catalytic converter as part of the exhaust system. These devices are stolen for the precious metals inside them, including platinum and palladium, for which they are sold as scrap. It only takes minutes with a battery powered saw to cut them out from underneath a vehicle.
The theft of these converters has a hidden cost to commercial and private interests. A stolen converter costs around $2,500 to replace in a private or commercial vehicle. The actual loss per commercial vehicle can be as high as $7,500. A commercial vehicle must be out of service for the duration of time taken to repair the damage cause by this these thefts, meaning loss of productive revenue for the company and an inconvenience for the customer. AT&T is a local service provider in our area that has been significantly impacted by these thefts involving its fleet vehicles, with total damages estimated at close to a half million dollars.
Detectives believe that multiple people or groups of people are involved in this activity. Those inclined to enrich themselves at the cost of others have obviously seen this as an opportunity to exploit. Anyone you know engaging in this type of crime in the Birmingham area they would like to know as well. Detectives are looking for specific names, addresses, vehicles, and accomplices connected to these people. This includes anyone buying stolen converters from them and where these transactions occur.
Anytime you share information regarding crime activity with Crime Stoppers you remain completely anonymous. The information you provide to Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama leading to the charge and arrest of an identified suspect in the theft of catalytic converters could result in a cash reward up to $5,000.