Oahu residents seeing a rise in thefts of catalytic converters

Local News

There’s another car part thieves have been targeting lately, and it’s called “catalytic converters.”

It is a part underneath your car that  filters out the exhaust fumes before they exit the vehicle.

A Kapolei resident says thieves cut out his catalytic converter overnight and now he’s got a hefty bill to pay.

About two and a half weeks ago, Kevin Valencia says his son noticed something was wrong with the car when he started it up. 

They ended up taking it to a mechanic who told them that their car was misisng a catalytic converter.

“He put my car up on the rack and he told me, Kevin, somebody stole your catalytic converter and not only that, they cut the O2 sensor, and did way more damage than needed to be,” said Kevin Valencia, theft victim. “It came out to about, he said, $1400 dollars to fix.”

Although Valencia filed a police report, his insurance wouldn’t cover it. 

His Honda CRV had been parked on the street overnight, and Valencia says he’s not making the same mistake again. He will be asking his neighbors if he can rent a parking space.

“So I’m fixing the car now. I’m afraid to put it back on the street because the same thing is going to happen, right?,” said Valencia.  

Experts say SUV’s and trucks are major targets.

“Anything that’s close to the ground, it’s a lot harder to get underneath and out of it really quickly. So anything that’s higher off the ground that you could physically roll underneath and then just take the catalytic converter out from there,” said Zack Dewater, auto-repair shop manager of Starkey’s Auto-Repair. 

He says this kind of part can be popular, not because of what it does, but because of what’s inside of it.

“There are precious metals, rhodium, palladium, copper, and those metals actually break down the exhaust fumes and they filter it through there,” said Dewater.

He says a catalytic converter can be sold for $50 to a $100 dollars. But repair costs can cost much more, so you have to be careful where you park.

“Repair costs, they vary depending on the type of vehicle. For some cars, it can be up to six or seven hundred dollars, and they range. Some cars have four catalytic converters in them, and they can run all the way up… it could be a $2,200 dollar repair bill.”

The Honolulu Police Department says it doesn’t specifically track thefts of car parts. However, this kind of theft is counted under the number of car thefts on their Crime Tracking website

In the last month there have been 205 car-related thefts.

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