Spokane sees rise in stolen catalytic converters




Posted on May 14, 2014 at 11:11 PM

Updated Thursday, May 15 at 9:26 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A Spokane woman had a catalytic converter stolen from her car in May. KREM 2 News found out converters were a popular item for thieves.

A catalytic converter is a device that lessens toxic pollutants in an exhaust emission. It can cost as much as $2,500 to replace.

Employees at the service center at a Downtown Spokane Toyota dealership said they had seen six cars that had the device stolen in just over a week.

Nancy Goings, 69, said she heard an unusual sound coming from her 1991 Toyota truck.

“I got in the car and it went ‘vrooom, vrooom, vrooom’ which was unusual,” said Goings.

Goings’ catalytic converter was sawed off from underneath her truck at her retirement center on the corner of Empire and Cook.

The theft left the disabled social worker with no transportation and no way to get to her doctor’s appointments.

“I'm told now it's going to cost $1,900 to fix because they broke everything from the engine to the tail pipe,” said Goings.

Downtown Spokane Toyota service manager Gary Hommel said he had seen numerous cars come into the shop without its catalytic converter.

“We've got four in here right now, two, two weeks ago that we saw. It's been an ongoing thing,” said Hommel.

A stolen catalytic converter can bring around $150 to a thief. The platinum in the converter is what thieves are after, according to Hommel.

Hommel said the best thing to do to prevent your converter from being stolen was to have a muffler shop secure it to the car’s frame. Hommel also suggested buying full coverage on your car insurance.

Goings was stuck with a $2,000 bill. She had a message for the thieves.

“I'd like to tell them I'm praying for them and no matter what happens I hope they make it to Heaven,” said Goings.