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A huge increase in the value of precious metals platinum, palladium and rhodium have created costly hassles for tens of thousands of American vehicle owners, who have had their catalytic converters stolen. Metals are used in the manufacture of converters, devices that are attached to the exhaust pipe to treat engine exhaust and make it less harmful to the environment. Thieves using common tools can remove them so quickly that a surveillance camera at an Allied Gardens home captured a nearby car having its catalytic converter stolen in just two minutes and 16 seconds. How much of a hassle is it across the country? State Farm recorded a year-over-year increase of 293 percent in reported thefts of catalytic converters. Popular cars like Toyota Priuses and Honda Elements and Accords are the most targeted vehicles. Replacing converters can cost $4,000 or more.
This week, Carlsbad became the first local town to respond to this niche crime wave, taking the first step toward enacting an ordinance that will require anyone with a catalytic converter not attached to a vehicle to be able to provide valid proof. of property. Persons in possession of converters must have the license plate number and vehicle identification number of the car from which the catalytic converter was removed and the signature of the owner who authorized the removal, along with other requirements . Every city needs such a law – and the state should consider doing what Indiana and Texas have done and make crime a crime.