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Catalytic Converter Crime Ring Scored $500 Million in Just 3 Years: Report

A rusty pile of catalytic converters in the back of a truck in Mineola, New York.
A rusty pile of catalytic converters in the back of a truck in Mineola, New York.


A van with seized catalytic converter thefts is parked outside police headquarters in Mineola, New York, on Jan. 30, 2023.

From school buses, to cop cars to even the hallowed Wienermobile, it seems like catalytic converter thieves hold no vehicle sacred. BuzzFeed News has an incredible deep dive into how what was once a petty, occasional crime turned into a nationwide crime syndicate capable of pulling in half a billion dollars in just three years.

In case you missed it:

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The problem of cat converter thefts has exploded in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the prices of the precious metals contained within the car part. Thieves can slide under a car and use a sawzall to remove a cat in less than a minute. It’s a risky maneuver, as suspected thieves have been crushed by cars on shaky jack stands or shot by irate vehicle owners but the skyrocketing cost of palladium and platinum makes it extremely worthwhile:

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