The hot new item to get stolen from your car is not the valuables inside or even the car itself, it's apparently a useful part underneath: the catalytic converter.

According to CBS2 and the Cedar Rapids Police Department via a press release, people are running off with car parts to sell as scrap for cash.

In January there were reports of 28 thefts of motor vehicle parts, more than 133 percent of the five-year average for the month. Catalytic converters, in particular, have reportedly been stolen at an increased rate since November 2020. 30 of them have been reported stolen since then.

The CRPD has been checking with local scrap metal dealers to locate and identify anyone who may have tried to sell them the parts as they contain precious metals like platinum. Having one in your car is important and will also reduce toxic gases and pollutants.

Winter causes all sorts of difficulties for your vehicle and you'll notice the catalytic converter is gone by the loud, roaring sound it makes that gets louder when you hit the gas. A noticeably rougher drive than you should be experiencing occurs, too. To keep your catalytic converter or any other part of your vehicle from being stolen, CRPD encourages these steps:

  • Park your vehicle inside your garage and keep all garage doors shut and locked.
  • If you have to park your vehicle in the driveway or street, park in well-lit areas or consider installing outdoor lighting.
  • In parking lots, park in well-lit areas and close to building entrances, if possible.
  • Install and aim surveillance cameras towards your parked vehicle.
  • Set your car alarm, if applicable, to detect any movement or vibration.
  • Be sure to report any suspicious activity to the Police Department by calling (319) 286-5491.
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