Thieves steal precious metals found in car parts



Posted on December 27, 2010 at 7:30 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 27 at 10:23 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.— Brazen thieves may be to blame after a string of car parts went missing in broad daylight.

Auto shops said they’ve seen a rise in the numbers of cars missing catalytic converters in the past month.

Crews believe they often get cut out of cars because the converters contain platinum and uranium which people can sell for scrap.

Workers at Muffler Mart on Division said they receive about one call a day from someone it has happened to.

They add most of the victims drive Toyota pick-ups or 4-Runners because they sit so high up off the ground.

Experts said in most cases it looked like thieves have used a hand chain cutter to cut out the part from under vehicles.
Mechanics said it can happen in broad daylight and most drivers don’t notice until the check engine light comes on.
“Usually they come in and say “My car is loud and it wasn’t loud when I went to work.” So they get a rude awakening when they start it,” said mechanic Bryan Graham.
Catalytic converters make the exhaust cleaner and are required by federal law in all cars built after 1975.

It can cost upwards of $500 to replace the part.