Catalytic converter theft on the rise in Corpus Christi

Costing a couple of hundred dollars, these parts can be removed from your vehicle in just a few seconds.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Criminals are looking for catalytic converters these days, and once they get their hands on yours, you’ll have a long wait to replace it.

Our Ashley Gonzalez experienced this problem firsthand earlier in the year, and in her case, it took a full three months for it to be replaced.

Costing a couple of hundred dollars, these parts can be taken in just a few seconds. “I’ve seen some take it in less than 20 seconds,” said Rick’s Body Shop owner Rick Cruz. “This is no time to saw through the exhaust and take off with them.”

the Corpus Christi Police Department He said that in 11 months, 429 stolen catalytic converters were reported. “Usually criminals target areas where there is a high concentration of vehicles,” explained CCPD Public Information Officer Michael Pena. “So, big parking lots and apartment complexes where there’s a multitude of vehicles, not so much in neighborhoods.”

The most attacked vehicles in the city were:

  • toyota tacoma
  • tundra
  • ford f-150
  • ford f-250

The rise in thefts spiked in Corpus Christi about eight months ago and Cruz said this is because catalytic converters have become a hot commodity. “They got them for eight cars last night, or six cars the week before. We were hearing it from all over the industry,” Cruz added.

Unfortunately, it is also illegal to drive your vehicle without one. “They can stop you and give you a ticket. You have to explain to them and sometimes they let you go, sometimes they don’t,” Cruz explained.

Cruz also described how driving without the part can cause you to use more fuel. “You’re not restricting it, so it’s going to be direct airflow. It’s going to struggle. It’s just one thing leading to another. That’s why you need it, so the emissions flow freely and clearly through the vehicle”.

With all of this in mind, it’s abundantly clear that keeping your catalytic converter safe is important. Fortunately, Cruz mentioned a few ways to protect the vehicle from him and even put those practices to use on Ashley Gonzalez’s truck.

“Some have powder coated it and put ‘stolen’ on it,” he shared. “Now the newest thing I’ve seen has been a wire that is welded to a pipe through the catalytic converter. It’s harder to cut the wire than it is to cut the pipe.”

Other tips for those interested in protecting their vehicles include getting an alarm, putting your VIN number on the converter, and parking in well-lit areas.

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