WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Catalytic-converter thieves strike again

Reader report from Ellie: “Our 2009 Toyota Prius had its catalytic converter stolen when parked on the street at 25th and Hudson. It’s normally in a garage but we had to leave it out due to the Delridge road work closing driveway access. Apparently these have been on the rise recently, as it is fairly easy to remove in under 2 minutes from below the car and it contains precious (metals). … It’s happening to more Priuses than other cars, and there are guards that can be installed to help prevent it. It was a bit of a nightmare to discover as the repair costs are more expensive than the car itself. Fortunately for us we have comprehensive coverage that will cover it but there’s still a hefty deductible.” Earlier this fall, the Southwest Precinct issued an alert that these thefts were spiking; they’ve been a problem off and on for years – our archives include reports going back to 2008.

15 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Catalytic-converter thieves strike again"

  • BBILL November 30, 2020 (2:35 pm)

    “the repair costs are more expensive than the car itself.” WOW!!! I’m very surprised that a catalytic converter theft on a 2009 Prius is a total loss.

    • Carole November 30, 2020 (5:12 pm)

      The cost of mine was just over 4000.  Insurance covered all but my deductible. I also paid for the security device and installation labor out of pocket. So deductible, plus another 400.

      • Also John November 30, 2020 (6:06 pm)

        Security device?

        • Balderdash November 30, 2020 (7:00 pm)

          yes… security device… as in a metal panel that attaches to the underside of the car and makes it difficult to get to the converter with a sawzall.

        • Carole November 30, 2020 (8:33 pm)

          Getcatsecurity.comCost averages $200, plus about 2 hours labor to install. Had mine done at Toyota service center.

      • BBILL November 30, 2020 (8:46 pm)

        No wonder they’re getting targeted! I checked earlier, and I could get mine replaced for under $700 parts and labor, but that’s assuming a standards situation, so I’m sure it’d be a bit more if the pipes were cut. Obviously I don’t own a Toyota Prius. A quick web search suggests there is about $800+ (changes daily) in palladium in each older Prius converter, which is more than the cost a brand new converter for my vehicle.

        • Carole December 1, 2020 (12:40 am)

          They usually do cut the pipe at each end. That means replacing the 02 sensor as well.

  • High Pointer November 30, 2020 (5:33 pm)

    Between 5 and 5:45am on Monday AM I heard a few bursts of a Sawzall or something similar. Perhaps related? Overheard from open window up hill on 34th, facing East.

  • JR November 30, 2020 (5:44 pm)

    Can’t someone set up a sting operation and nail these losers?  Second question: exactly how do the thieves convert a CC into cash?  There’s gotta be something traceable there… too bad SPD doesn’t have the resources to go after this prevalent crime.

    • BBILL November 30, 2020 (8:52 pm)

      “Second question: exactly how do the thieves convert a CC into cash?” My guess: Smelting. And thus, there is zero way to trace. A small scale smelting operation, that which is necessary for these sorts of things, or extracting gold from chips, can be setup in a small space.

  • 1994 November 30, 2020 (7:31 pm)

    Does one have to slide under a Prius to get to the converter or can it be ‘grabbed’ from the  side of the car? The car sits pretty low to the ground. 2 minutes to steal this part is pretty fast.

    • BBILL November 30, 2020 (8:55 pm)

      I have no idea their techniques, but it’s quick and easy to use a hydraulic jack to lift a vehicle. And they’re not taking the wheels, so they need not bring blocks.

  • Robert November 30, 2020 (11:07 pm)

    Yeah I’m always surprised to hear how valuable and expensive the cats in Priuses are. Seems absurd. I’m sorry to hear that happened.

  • bob December 1, 2020 (12:55 pm)

    I wish someone would steal my CC from my 1976 Cadillac Eldorado. I have to pay to have it removed. Unfortunately I don’t iive in Washington anymore and it it too cold here in Idaho to leave it out. An electric saw with a metal cutting blade can get it off in seconds and yes they have platinum in them worth alot of money. For parts and labor it can be well over $1000.00  Get the locking kit!

  • RC December 2, 2020 (12:58 pm)

    Mine was stolen about a month ago and reported to the police. It was from a Ford Excursion….There are multiple postings on Craigslist and Offerup to pay top dollar for catalytic converters with mounds of them in their ads.

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