HONOLULU (KHON2) — From the state capitol to the garage, folks are looking for ways to stop catalytic converter thefts. State lawmakers want stiffer penalties, while a local mechanic says he’s created a deterrent that slows thieves down by turning up the volume.
According to K&Y Auto Service owner Frank Young, the key to preventing catalytic converter theft is making it more difficult.
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“It’s all about how fast can you steal it!” Young said.
That can happen in just a couple of minutes. Young says he grew so tired of customers coming in with stolen converters. He set out to find a solution. He tried screwing a metal sheet of metal onto the car’s frame. It shields the catalytic converter and is difficult to saw off.
“You don’t need to cover the whole torque converter,” Young said. “These guys want to cut the pipes and take the converter. They can’t cut the converter itself. If they cut the converter it’s useless.”
Even though the saw thieves use to take off the converter is loud, the shield is much louder. Frank also puts various different types of screws into the frame, so it might be tough to be a smooth criminal while waking up the entire neighborhood.
“It’s not just waking you up,” Young said. “It’s going to take them twice as long or three times as long, and they might say forget it we just go to the next car.”
The $140 shields aren’t necessary for every vehicle. Young cites the Honda Element and Toyota Prius as some that are prone to catalytic converter thefts.
The state legislature is now considering a bill to make stealing a catalytic converter a class 3 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, instead of a petty misdemeanor.
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They also want to require scrap metal dealers to pay for catalytic converters by check and make parts dealers keep records of purchases.