RCPD is seeing a spike in catalytic converter thefts
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Police Department is seeing an increase in catalytic converter thefts, and they’re warning residents about what they’re seeing. Catalytic converters are put on cars to reduce the toxic gases that a car produces from going into the air, but they also contain precious and expensive metals inside them such as rhodium and platinum. The thieves then attempt to take the converters to scrap yards in exchange for money, which can be tough for the police to track.
Sergeant Craig Cassen, Property Crimes Investigations for the RCPD, said, “They’re halfway easy to sell. They’re worth a lot of money just because of the metals that are within them. We’re trying to work with some of the places that are collecting the metal and buying it to track down some people.”
Officials say they’re seeing most of the catalytic converter thefts take place in non-residential areas where there might not be as much foot traffic.
“It could be construction sites, it could be car lots or mechanic lots, anything. Doesn’t matter, they can get into them. I think generally the target is bigger vehicles sometimes they have the bigger catalytic converters. And they need to be big enough basically for these guys to slide under and cut them off,” said Sergeant Craig Cassen.
Belly Brothers Auto Tech in Rapid City says they’re seeing more cars than usual come in with stolen catalytic converters. Just in the past week they saw at least one car a day come in with their converters missing from their vehicle. These thefts can happen within minutes and cost a pretty penny as well.
Robert Young, owner of Belly Brothers Auto Tech, said, “They’re worth anywhere from a small one at a $100 used to $1,000 for some bigger diesel particular filters. We have video of one happening, it happened in three minutes. Just this year we are topping over 60 now we are seeing it every week.”
Police advise business owners to get security cameras for the exterior of their buildings and remember to lock any gates leading onto their property.