LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas valley is seeing a rise in the theft of catalytic converters. However, one local business is providing a solution that may stop thieves in their tracks.
"Just pure anger, resentment, and why?"
It's a question Marco Razon is still asking: Why steal a catalytic converter from a car?
"Just get the whole car, instead of me just panicking at the dealership trying to get a replacement part,” Razon said.
Razon says his neighbor's converter was recently stolen from the truck parked in the driveway. His own car is an off-road vehicle with a higher lift, making it more vulnerable to thieves and causing him fear.
He brought it to Custom Motorsports for a solution: a metal plate to completely cover the catalytic converter.
Shop owner Cameron Smith says the idea started a year and a half ago. So many customers were buying the protective devices, with stocks dwindling in weeks.
"They offer protection, so you can't reach up inside. You can't put a tool up in there to cut them out,” Smith said.
While not 100% foolproof, Smith says it's an effective deterrent.
"They're going to get under there and be like…this is too much of a headache. They're going to move to the next car that has it,” he said.
Hundreds of cars have been targeted across the valley just this year. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says catalytic converter thefts between January and April this year are up about 63% from the same time last year.
Police say the metals inside the converters can be sold for high prices on the black market, making it an attractive target. According to Metalsdaily.com, one of those metals — rhodium — is selling for about $19,000 an ounce.
"The price per gram and per ounce is ridiculous,” Smith said.
Razon says keeping his converter protected is the best investment he can make in the long run. Replacing a converter and fixing the damage done by thieves could run into thousands of dollars.
"A few hundred dollars. Save my time and my money, my anxiety. It puts me at ease completely,” he said.
LVMPD also says people can have an owner-applied number etched on the converter, so police can confirm where it came from and whether it’s reported stolen.