WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: More catalytic converters targeted

Two more catalytic-converter crimes reported by readers today:

21ST/GENESEE: Zack emailed to say, “I caught someone in the act of stealing the catalytic converter from my wife’s Honda Element this morning- he was cutting it off with a power tool that woke us up. This happened at 5:00 am at 21st + Genesee. Suspect walked south on 21st, then a car with no headlights on followed him – most likely they were working together. The police showed up right away …” The incident number is 21-045060.

BEACH DRIVE: We also heard this morning from Davis: “I am reporting a stolen Catalytic Converter from a Prius. It happened Sunday night from the 5000 block of Beach Drive. The car was parked on the street.”

(It’s a nationwide problem, the NY Times reported recently. Prevention advice is at the end of this report we published last fall.)

12 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: More catalytic converters targeted"

  • Auntie February 23, 2021 (11:34 am)

    It seems to me that if the powers that be would crack down on the purchasers of these converters, it would cut down on the thefts. Surely these metal scrappers can’t believe that all the converters they are getting are salvage, right? They know what they’re doing and will continue until someone nips it in the bud.

    • bb February 23, 2021 (12:11 pm)

      Sadly they probably don’t. To them its business and they’re making good money from it so why would they mind if someone tells them its “salvage”. They’d rather just agree and make the money.

    • Melissa February 23, 2021 (4:29 pm)

      The scrap yards are not buying whole catalytic converters.The value is the precious metal inside. Platinum/palladium/rhodium. I would think that getting the metal out would be quite the project. That is what they are selling and it is unidentifiable when melted down.

      • Tyr1001 February 24, 2021 (10:29 am)

        The scrap yards do buy whole catalytic converters though, specifically so it is identifiable as containing precious metals. the recovery process is predominately a chemical one so the elements remain mostly intact, although crushed up a bit. You wouldn’t be able to tell if the catalytic elements had been processed before or not otherwise. Additionally, processing the material on a small scale isn’t really profitable even if you were stealing them, as the acid required is pretty pricey and not easy to come by in large amounts without raising a whole bunch of attention. There’s just an economy of scale issue there. Codyslab on YouTube has a precious metal recovery series that includes a video on this if you’d like to learn more. Very cool stuff

    • bill February 23, 2021 (6:49 pm)

      The powers never cracked down on the recyclers who accepted obviously stolen power lines when City Light was having big problems with wire theft a couple of years ago. CL had to harden its installations. I agree, the recyclers are complicit.

    • Admiral Joe February 24, 2021 (10:28 pm)

  • waikikigirl February 23, 2021 (1:10 pm)

    I don’t understand how these are being sold. Husband bought a wrecked/totaled Ford F150 a year or so ago and the Metal Scrap yard asked for the Title to show proof he owned the vehicle, so how are these people getting away with this?Note…he got a pretty penny for it   

    • The King February 23, 2021 (6:59 pm)

      Bringing a scrap vehicle is different than parts because that vehicle may have been stolen/stripped, involved in a crime etc.they want to know you’re the owner of that vehicle. When the bad guys bring converters for scrap it’s just a part, if they are even asked for a VIN number a similar vehicles vin can easily be found online through an ad of another vehicle for sale. Details really don’t matter. 

  • Z February 23, 2021 (1:22 pm)

    Our Honda Odyssey had its catalytic converter stolen last Thursday by 49th and Charlestown. It was a pretty sloppy job because they caused significant damage to the rest of the exhaust system as well. We had no idea this has become such a thing!

  • Will S. February 23, 2021 (2:18 pm)

    In addition to providing a forum for organized lying, Facebook allows its users to connect with local shady characters who will purchase your extra catalytic converters of undisclosed provenance. See, for example: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/seattle/search/?query=catalytic%20converter%20buyers . 

  • WS5 February 24, 2021 (7:21 pm)

    The story says police came right away but didn’t say if they caught the person cutting the part from the car ?

  • Bill February 27, 2021 (3:37 pm)

    Will – seems like that is worthy of reporting to police as the majority are in the Seattle area. 

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