We recently posted about how theft of copper wire and tubing is a serious and growing problem affected by recycling and street drug markets - see Meth Heads Go For Recycling. Now that Platinum has become extremely valuable (up to US$1548/oz - preceding day market quote, per table), theft of catalytic converters also has emerged as a serious problem in the cities of California and several other US States. SUV's are primary targets. Apparently, welding the converter to the frame is the preferred deterrent.
This holiday season has seen an explosion in thefts of expensive, platinum-laced catalytic converters from parked cars, and authorities report that high-clearance sport utility vehicles are the targets of choice for thieves.
With a common socket wrench and 90 seconds, they leave drivers stuck with cars that sound like Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and facing repair bills topping $1,000.
The prize is a catalytic converter, a device used to reduce emissions. Platinum is more valuable than gold, and the contents of a typical converter are worth $40 to $50 to scrap-metal dealers.
Some thieves use saws, but the preferred weapon in Southern California is a ratchet with a 14-millimeter socket. The thief crawls under the car and unfastens the bolts holding the converter, a process that accomplished crooks can complete in 90 seconds.
Via::Los Angeles Times, "Thieves target vehicles' catalytic converters" Image credit::Kitco, live market quotes