WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Catalytic-converter thieves strike again, again, and almost again

Three reader reports in West Seattle Crime Watch, all involving catalytic converters:

PRIUS: Steve in Upper Alki reports, “My catalytic converter was stolen from my 2008 Prius, parked in my driveway in front of my house, sometime between Wednesday evening and Saturday morning.”

BUSINESS TRUCK: Someone stole the catalytic converter from a work truck at a West Marginal Way SW business over the weekend.

ELEMENT ATTEMPT: Rachel in Gatewood reports, “Came out to my Honda Element this morning for work and noticed the car was running loud. Looked under the car & there was one Sawzall cut – not all the way through the pipe – near my catalytic converter. Could have happened last night or Saturday night – did not drive car all weekend.”

SIDE NOTE: This continues to be a coast-to-coast problem (international too). In Northern California two weeks ago, according to this report, two people were arrested for possession of hundreds of stolen catalytic converters, and investigators say they have made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling them. Tips for preventing this type of theft include parking your car in a secure garage if you can, parking it somewhere brightly lit if you can’t, setting your car alarm to go off if it detects vibration, or adding a protection device/shield.

12 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Catalytic-converter thieves strike again, again, and almost again"

  • Lola April 13, 2021 (10:04 am)

    I have also heard if you can park your car with it’s back end facing a wall, or back end with another car it makes it harder to get to the catalytic converter.  Not sure if this is true or not. I think you can also get some form of cage or system that makes it harder for them to steal them.  

  • WS_Native April 13, 2021 (11:09 am)

    I’ve run a hot wire from the battery to electrify mine and covered the top side with razor blades held on with JB Weld…have fun thieves!

    • GT April 13, 2021 (6:48 pm)

      Also you will need a new battery and remove the ground short.

  • Al King April 13, 2021 (12:29 pm)

    Lola. No, doesn’t work. The converter is in about the middle of the car. What’s in back is the muffler.

  • John Reardon April 13, 2021 (9:04 pm)

    OK, so why not require buyers to photograph face and ID of all sellers.  And/or, disallow scrap facilities from purchasing or selling that material.  Restrict transactions to only authorized and registered repair facilities? “Junkyards” that deal with scrapped vehicles just need to add “salvage title” information for each converter.  Same website as suggested below.Document all purchases? When I sold my mother’s gold jewelry they photocopied my ID.  Add a face photo as well. A state run database/website could upload that info instantly so buyer would not have to store any data.Pros and cons?

  • Yet another April 14, 2021 (5:55 am)

    Just woke to hear a sawing sound. Ran out looking for the source and met a neighbor checking his sons car to discover its catalytic converter was taken. Few blocks north of the Alaska junction. 

  • gatewood88 April 15, 2021 (1:33 pm)

    it’s a bit disconcerting our state lawmakers haven’t done something about this already.. the ID requirement would definitely maybe help? but it would also require the police to do some pretty extensive detective work that they likely cant or wont do….. these scrap metal yards know that they are buying stolen property. can you imagine what their “suppliers” look like coming in to sell the stolen c converters? i think a more effective law would only allow scrap metal suppliers to buy used catalytic converters from individuals if they have proof of vehicle ownership -otherwise need to be purchased from legit auto repair/auto recycling businesses. Also would require that they keep id/proof of ownership on file with transactions w/ individuals. And further that they cannot pay for any used catalytic converters from anywhere with cash. i think other states have at least proposed similar rules. there is a very clear market pathway here- we just need lawmakers to do something about it.
    obvi criminals will still find a way to get some to market- but these regs would make it much more difficult and likely discourage many

  • Jen April 22, 2021 (7:08 am)

    2003 Honda Element this time. Just went to go for a doctor appointment and my car sounds like a tank. I’m on Dawson just down from California. 

    • Joe Interbay April 23, 2021 (12:54 pm)

      I just noticed this comment from Jen after posting my own story. Maybe they are targeting certain vehicles: my same Element hit within days of yours :(

      • WSB April 23, 2021 (1:31 pm)

        Yes, if you’ve missed our past coverage, Elements are a popular target currently. We have a 2004 and ours was one of three from which the “cats” were stolen the same weekend in February. It’s a nationwide problem, by absolutely no means just Seattle or King County. The national media has covered it abundantly. – TR

  • Joe Interbay April 23, 2021 (12:50 pm)

    My catalytic converter was stolen from my old Honda Element between 4/21-23, 2021, in the Interbay neighborhood of Seattle. It was parked in our private apartment parking lot which unfortunately is not fenced nor well lit. This is a growing problem and yet another reason I’m moving out of King County by summer.

  • Audifans May 2, 2021 (1:45 pm)

    Armor the underside of the car, folks. You gotta slow these people down from just “cut and run” Either rebar cage with razor wire around or store bought

Sorry, comment time is over.