Theft of Catalytic Converters Is Becoming More Common In Charlotte

Theft of automotive catalytic converters is on the rise in Charlotte, according to police. There are barrel-shaped filters that are used in your car’s exhaust system and can be very valuable. Criminals will rob them and sell the precious metals hidden inside for a fast buck.

“Anybody would be angry. Anybody would be furious that this happened. It’s a violation, like you’re not expecting it.”

On the way home from a weekend getaway, Chris Lee’s transmission failed on the highway. You may have seen him parked on the side of the driveway. He requested assistance, but due to the lack of a tow truck, he was forced to abandon his vehicle until the morning. When he returned, he found there was a serious issue.

“When the tow truck guy started the car up to back it up on the roll-behind, it was insanely loud. That’s when we realized someone had stolen both of my catalytic converters from my car,” said Lee.

The crime has become so common that it has caught the attention of the CMPD. According to officials, 430 converters have been stolen so far this year, a rise of more than 170 percent. The robbers, according to police, are getting more daring. Officers displayed video video of a converter burglary in progress. It shows a criminal pulling up and turning off and robbing a catalytic converter in broad daylight. Total time for the crime was just over a minute and a half.

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“They’re still getting paid for them, you know a couple bucks here and there.”

Keith Romines works as a shop manager at Transmissions Unlimited in Mooresville. He says despite the rise in thefts, there’s really not a lot of money to be made by stealing the converters.

“People are thinking that they have special metals inside of these catalytic converters. A long time ago back in the day it was there, but now it’s not,” said Romines.

“People are thinking that they have special metals inside of these catalytic converters. A long time ago back in the day it was there, but now it’s not,” said Romines.

So instead on one big score, thieves are opting for how much they can get away with.

“I don’t understand it. I don’t understand how somebody could rob you over ten dollars.” Lee told us.

But for Lee, it’s not the money he’s out that’s important. He worries what would have happened if his family was in the car.

“It could have been my wife broken down on the side of the road instead of me. And they could have come up, not knowing she was in the car. My wife, my daughter. I don’t even want to think about that.