Catalytic Converter Thefts are Increasing Again

by Safety Connection

May 6, 2022

The Madison Police Department has received more reports of catalytic converter thefts in the last several weeks, and the Toyota Prius continues to be a favorite of thieves. Yesterday morning, 2 catalytic converters were stolen in the Midtown District.

This crime can happen in a matter of minutes, and unfortunately there are not a lot of good prevention options besides parking your vehicle in a protected garage. These thefts are happening in neighborhoods, at car dealerships and in business parking lots across the city, and catalytic converters can be costly to replace (we’ve spoken to victims who have had to shell out as much as several thousand dollars to get their converters replaced).

In late March a new Wisconsin law went into effect to try to prevent catalytic converter thefts. Under the law, scrap dealers can only purchase a converter if the person selling it is at least 18 years old, provides a government-issued photo I.D., and provides documentation showing they lawfully possess the item.Minnesota passed a similar law last year, so thieves crossed the border into Wisconsin to steal converters. Lawmakers hope that over time thefts will decrease in Wisconsin, but of course the new law will not stop black market sales on Craigslist and online marketplaces.

If you own a Toyota Prius or other popular target of catalytic converter thefts, you can consider purchasing a shield (like the one pictured which is on a Honda Element—another popular target of thieves).

You can shop online for a shield that fits your vehicle’s make and model and then ask a local repair shop to install it (the one pictured was installed for $265).

Related Articles