Catalytic converter thefts strike BG; WCPS takes action

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Catalytic converter thefts are hitting hard across the country. As of mid April, the Bowling Green Police Department reports 112 catalytic converter thefts just since January 1st.

Crooks are stealing these catalytic converters, because many contain valuable metals, mostly platinum.

Warren County Public Schools says they’ve had four catalytic converters stolen out from under their school buses just this school year. 

WCPS vehicle maintenance manager Alan Blythe said, “Retail for us to replace them costs anywhere from $4000 to $10,000 to replace what they’ve stolen so far from each bus. When they just cut off the part sometimes it’s not too big a deal, but when they start getting into senses or wiring, we’ve had buses down for at least two or three months just waiting on parts to get back on the road.”

Just starting this April, Blythe has already painted 40 WCPS catalytic converters bright school bus yellow along with carving and wielding their district name in hopes of making it harder for thieves to sell them.

Over at Jerry’s Muffler & Tire, owner Jerry Cline says no place seems off limits for a hit. 

Cline says he’s noticed that previous has and Hondas are some of the most targeted converters.

“They’re getting them everywhere. They’re getting them on the sides of roads, parking lots, schools, and malls,” Cline said. “They cut them in half and try to get the platinum inside of them.”

But what can you do to stop your catalytic converter from going missing?

There’s a few options, like installing a steel shield over the converter, following Blythe’s methods by painting or welding, caging your converter in high-strength steel or asking a muffler shop to custom-weld a device to your car. 

Cline says you can even buy an aftermarket converter – one as low as $60, at the cost of not meeting industry standards. 

At the end of the day though, “Doesn’t matter what you do. If they want it, they’re going to get it. They want what’s inside of it,” Cline said.