::Dude, Someone Stole My Muffler
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle News Editor
Thursday, July 19, 2007
RALEIGH - In this era of brazen metal thefts, perhaps folks shouldn't be surprised by the level that thieves have stooped to in order to take off with precious metals.
However, the Raleigh Police Department says that some thieves have been stooping pretty low recently -- like under dozens of cars.
Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said earlier today that officers have taken two reports since Monday involving the theft of 31 catalytic converters from cars and trucks in Raleigh.
The converters were cut out from the muffler and exhaust systems of vehicles that were parked overnight at local repair shops, say police.
In the first case on Monday, police say a theft was reported at a body shop in the 7300 block of Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, where 13 catalytic converters had been taken from vehicles awaiting repairs.
Then on Tuesday, police say that another theft was reported on Capital Boulevard.
Two car repair shops in the 3800 block of Capital Boulevard reported thefts.
Police say that 18 catalytic converters were been taken from cars there at two repair shops that share a building. Police say that 17 of the damaged vehicles belonged to customers while one of cars belonged to a shop owner.
Some stolen catalytic converters wind up being used on other vehicles.
However, police added that some are disassembled to recover the small quantities of precious metals found inside them including platinum, palladium or rhodium which command a high price per ounce.
Depending upon the manufacture, the different metals are present in order to create a chemical reaction which reduces the emissions from the exhaust.
According to an article on the online encyclopedia known as Wikipedia, platinum is worth up to $1,200 an ounce; palladium is worth $320 an ounce; and rhodium can can go for up to $6,000 an ounce.
But, according to the article, the use of those precious metals in a catalytic converter is so small that there is usually less than $50 of metal in 2007 prices used per converter, not taking into account the labor and time needed to tear the metal out of the converter (or to steal the converter in the first place).
Trucks and SUV's are especially vulnerable to converter theft because they have a higher ground clearance, making it easier for thieves to gain access to the exhaust sections.
Metal thieves have been rampant in the Triangle, with some stealing wiring from construction sites, wiring in stoplights, and even manhole covers in Durham.
Raleigh Police are asking that anyone with information about the thefts to call the Raleigh Police Department's Detective Division at (919) 890-3555 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 226-CRIME. Callers do not have to reveal their identities. ::