Thieves Target Catalytic Converters

Toyota 4Runners Popular Targets

NAPLES, Fla. – Scrap metal thieves have a new target, sports utility vehicles.

Collier County sheriff?s deputies are investigating the reported thefts of six catalytic converters from sport utility vehicles in Naples on Oct. 1. Most of the vehicles targeted were older model Toyota 4runners. Earlier this year, thieves swiped more than two dozen catalytic converters from SUVs parked at Naples auto dealers.

The catalytic converter is part of a vehicle?s exhaust system and is designed to reduce carbon emissions in the environment. Catalytic converters are partly composed of platinum, a metal more valuable than gold. When the platinum is extracted, it can be worth hundreds of dollars.

It takes between 60 and 90 seconds for a thief to slide beneath a vehicle, unscrew the bolts holding the converter in place, and walk away away with the converter.

Deputies recommend having the converter welded onto your car, park in well-lit areas, or invest in a specially-devised lock that secures your converter.