New device could prevent catalytic converter thefts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New device could prevent catalytic converter thefts

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Imagine the frustration of trying to start your car or truck, and realizing a thief has stolen your catalytic converter?

Ron Rains says a thief stole catalytic converters from at least two trucks that were parked in front of the Woodsville Rental Company in Ohio.

Surveillance cameras mounted outside his business captured video of the suspect pulling up to a truck, putting on gloves, crawling underneath the vehicle, and removing the catalytic converter within a matter of minutes. Then, the thief went for a converter underneath a second truck.

"He didn't seem like he was worried about getting caught at all," Rains said. "He almost seemed like he knew what he was doing. He came in, got the part off, and was out in less than 10 minutes."

Rains said it will cost $2,700 to replace the stolen catalytic converters.

Catalytic converters contain a precious metal called platinum and they're often sold at scrap metal yards for about $200.

There is a relatively new device available that promises to make it harder for a thief to prey on your vehicle.

Jim Dusa is the inventor of the CatClamp, a cage-like device that contains a thick cable that surrounds your catalytic converter.

"It's kind of like an insurance policy, a little bit difficult to sell, but easy to sell to people that have experienced a theft," Dusa said.

The CatClamp's cables make it more challenging and time consuming for a thief to cut through and remove a catalytic converter.

"This thing would take a long time to defeat, a lot of tools, a lot of noise," Dusa said.

It costs between $100 and $300 which is much less than the cost of replacing a stolen catalytic converter.

Dusa claims the devices are 100 percent successful at preventing theft.

"The thief gets under there, they think they have a 30-second grab and go," Dusa said. "They see our product under there, they're intimidated. They don't even know where to start, they just leave and go to the next vehicle."

Within 20 minutes, a thief can steal as many as six catalytic converters from vehicles in a single parking lot.  

In some areas, municipalities have passed laws in an effort to catch thieves who are 'scrapping' for converters.

The scrap yard owners in those cities are now required to keep records of those who are bringing in catalytic converters as a way of helping law enforcement officers track thieves who are illegally obtaining these parts.

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