TORRANCE, Calif. (KTLA) – Video released by the Torrance Police Department in California shows four suspected thieves exiting a Lamborghini and stealing the catalytic converter off a parked van.
The incident, according to police, occurred around 4 a.m. on Nov. 9.
In the video, the four men exit a yellow Lamborghini Urus alongside the white van. One of the men is seen acting as a lookout, while the others pull equipment from the back of their vehicle that they use to jack up the van and steal the valuable part before driving away.
Police urged anyone with information about the incident to contact Torrance Police Department detectives at 310-618-5570.
Catalytic converters, which help scrub pollutants from a car engine’s exhaust, have become more and more attractive to thieves in recent years thanks to the increasing prices of the precious metals used in the production — i.e, platinum, rhodium and palladium — amid the pandemic. An ill-gotten catalytic converter can “typically” fetch between $50 and $250 when sold to an unscrupulous recycling facility, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
The pandemic had only driven up demand and prices of these precious metals. Rhodium, which sold for around $6,000 per ounce in 2019, is currently valued at over double that amount, Kitco data suggests.
“We have seen a significant increase during the pandemic,” explained David Glawe, the president and CEO of the NICB, in a statement previously shared with Nexstar. “As the value of the precious metals contained within the catalytic converters continues to increase, so do the number of thefts of these devices.”
The best way to thwart theft, experts say, is to make your vehicle less desirable or more difficult to target, with specialized cages or clamps that can be installed by an experienced mechanic, or by parking cars in well-lit or locked area, the NICB recommends.