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Why thieves are after catalytic converters

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 6:57 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Cedar Rapids Police have had 41 reports of stolen Catalytic Converters since November, but it’s not just an issue in Cedar Rapids. The Department told TV-9 they’re working with at least 7 other law enforcement agencies in Iowa who are dealing with the same thing.

Cedar Rapids Police released video earlier this month of a suspect believed to be involved in at least two of the thefts. A second video was released yesterday from January 27th, where the suspect is seen stealing a catalytic converter in the middle of the day in a Coe College parking lot.

We caught up with Zach Willson, who is the Manager of Denny’s Muffler Center in Marion. He and his team have replaced at least a couple dozen catalytic converters that have been stolen of vehicles in the area. He says cars have anywhere from 1-4 catalytic converters underneath them, which are used to clean the exhaust coming out of your car.

“You don’t want to breathe the stuff in that’s coming through here,” he pointed out.

Willson says thieves typically want to steal the part, to sell it for money because it contains precious metals.

“What job can you work and make $100 in 5 or 10 minutes you know,” he told us.

Since daylight didn’t seem to be a deterrent in this case, Willson says, there isn’t much car owners can do when they’re out and about.

“I guess it would be more about parking it to where it’d be hard to get underneath of it,” he added.

Unfortunately for car owners, replacing the part isn’t cheap.

“I would say average is probably 6-800 bucks average you know some of them are a few 2-3 hundred bucks some of them are you know I’ve seen some that are 2-3,000 dollars also so it just depends,” Willson told us.

Police want anyone with information on the thefts to reach out right away or contact Linn County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-CS-CRIME. Callers can reference case #2021-01605.

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