West Seattle Crime Watch: Catalytic-converter thieves at it again

July 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 21 Comments

If you see somebody under a car/truck – that might not be roadside repairs – read A’s report, after the jump:

My truck was victim of catalytic converter theft last night…at approx. 12:30 am. on 44th Ave SW and Charlestown [map].

I just happened to be outside and saw a male emerge from under my truck and walk towards a car parked 100 ft. away, still running.

I saw the perp running away from the truck carrying the catalytic converter and get into (what looked like) a Burgundy Oldsmobile Cutlass. License Plate # 420-W-Z (3 letters) but couldn’t make out the letter between W and Z.

When I took my truck in for the repair, the shop mentioned there have been a few of these recently, so be on the lookout.

They steal these usually for the raw metal, which in catalytics is either platinum or rhodium.

Trucks are especially common because they are higher off of the ground and hence easier to access below.

21 Comments

  1. I live between 44th and 45th on Charlestown. I was up reading, and I saw a reddish car zoom south down our alley at approximately the same time. I looked out the front window because we’ve had a lot of cars cruising the alley lately, and when they saw me they hit the gas pedal. There was more than one male in the car because I could also see someone in the back passenger side seat. Perhaps it was the same guys?

    Comment by Paula T — 2:42 pm July 13, 2010 #

  2. Somebody stole some wheel weights off our 4Runner, 5 blocks from where your truck was vandalized. If people feel their vehicle shimmy on the highway, you might be a victim of the same metal theft.

    Comment by Mike — 8:10 pm July 13, 2010 #

  3. My catalytic converter from my 4runner was stolen yesterday during the day while parked near Merrill gardens on 35th.

    Comment by sean — 9:32 am July 14, 2010 #

  4. They hit our Toyota truck this morning around 5:30 am. Our dog was growling and we didn’t look outside :-( 45th and Juneau…..

    Comment by R — 11:02 am July 14, 2010 #

  5. -not to offend but seriously doubt wheel wieghts are being stolen. theyd be worthless. much more likley thrown off, curbed, ect.
    -has anyone noticed weather the cats being stolen are bolt-on or weld-on type? weld-on would require a grinder, sawz-all,hack-saw to remove and should make alot of noise.
    -would think a bolt on would be much easier and quite to steal. so it might be worth a look under your vehicle maybe a trip to a shop with a welder… cats arent cheap. the theives will probably target cars that they know have factory bolt-ons.
    -worth noting to victims…an aftermarket “high flow” or preformance cat should be much much cheaper than a factory one. plus youll get a bit more power and better mpg. unfortunatly you still have to shell out some money because somebody SUCKS!

    Comment by jon — 2:56 pm July 14, 2010 #

  6. There was a story on WSB recently that indicated a lady on the hill by the Luna Park cafe near the WS Bridge had a cat stolen…

    More and more of these issues it seems.

    So now, bolted down is not even good enough, YOU HAVE TO WELD IT!

    geez.

    I hate crime.

    hk

    Comment by HolyKow — 10:04 am July 15, 2010 #

  7. Honestly, to me when I looked under the car it looked as if it were cut off. The extension pipe from the engine and back to the muffler had no locations to bolt to. They were flat with a few long strips of shaved metal on either side…..? I can’t see this as easy or quick. How much money are these things worth anyway?

    Comment by sean — 5:23 pm July 15, 2010 #

  8. Mine was welded. The cut at the pipe at both ends of the cat.
    I believe they used a pipe cutter… Not a sabersaw.
    My new one is also welded.

    Comment by A — 12:28 pm July 16, 2010 #

  9. Mine was welded.

    Comment by A — 12:30 pm July 16, 2010 #

  10. It sounds like they are targetting Toyota 4Runners. Is that the case?

    Comment by tim — 1:25 pm July 16, 2010 #

  11. Came back from Burien Toyota to get my cat replaced, $2,600. They said this the 3rd they had seen this week. Rental car place said they were hit too. All 4runners.

    Comment by sean — 6:26 pm July 16, 2010 #

  12. hmmm. pipe cutter. i didnt think of that. sounds like id be the way to go.
    –ive heard you can only get $50 or $75 bucks for em. they contain small amounts of precious metals like titanium and platnium.
    –somebody needs to find the scrap yards there going to. im pretty sure there considerd toxic. and would think your average steel recycler isnt going to buy them. youd have to be pretty specialized to extract metals from ceramics.
    –like i said before an after market cat installed is probably less than an auto ins. deductable.
    –id love to find somebodys feet sticking out under my yota, the thefts would stop pretty qiuck!

    Comment by jon — 2:29 pm July 19, 2010 #

  13. just had a quick look and it seems that there are some adds on CL of people that will buy cats. i hope its the cops but if not maybe they should start there.
    –there is very very few places in town that will take them and most say the have a strict policy on buying them.

    Comment by jon — 2:43 pm July 19, 2010 #

  14. Problem with some after market cats is they do not have the factory CO2 sensor. No hook up for the sensor no pass emissions…..at least that is what the Toyota repair shop said.

    Comment by sean — 5:24 pm July 19, 2010 #

  15. They sole my catalitic converter on my 4runner last night on the 100th and california block.

    Comment by dan — 11:57 am July 20, 2010 #

  16. They got my truck too….. also a toyota…

    Comment by dan — 7:20 pm July 20, 2010 #

  17. My Toyota pickup catalytic converter got stolen last night too. Went to the precinct today and put in a report. Everyone needs to file a police report so that they are aware of there being a rash of them and they will catch these guys.

    Comment by KL — 10:46 pm July 21, 2010 #

  18. basically youd need a high flow cat with an o2 sensor port after the cat. like $250 online. my landcruiser has basically the same setup. the ecu is looking for a signal from 2 o2 sensors, 1 before the cat and 1 after. they make em. just remember toyota wants to sell you theirs because its a very high dollar item. often the techs know very little about aftermarket stuff. it will be a bit louder, but you will get better milage and a bit more power. google high flow cat with your year/make/model.
    –sorry guys that really sucks.

    Comment by jon — 6:14 pm July 22, 2010 #

  19. W.S. has another ongoing rash of catalytic converter thefts last night. (Morgan junction area) The thieves are again targeting trucks and mostly Toyota 4runners as they are easy to get under and in a spot that they are easily removed. My 4runner was one of the targets 6500 block of 42 av (behind thriftway) off-street parking spot… Today Midas rep on Fauntleroy said they have replaced 8 in the last 2 days, and as that is not the only muffler shop in the W.S. area, who knows how many more have been victimized… There was also a 2-3 week spree in WS. in Jan 09.

    Comment by karaoke joe — 6:54 pm July 22, 2010 #

  20. maybe you should just tape a hundred bucks in a plastic bag to the converter and ask them to leave the converter in exchange for the money.

    Comment by mary — 1:49 am July 23, 2010 #

  21. My cat was hacksawed off between 6am and 6pm on Friday on the street just passed the ferry dock. It should be illegal to re-sell a converter without at least photo ID. What is up with the lame oversight?

    Comment by margot — 9:22 pm July 26, 2010 #

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