Overbrook, Lower Merion Township, PA — Township Police responded to the Palmer Apartments located at 18 E. Lancaster Ave. in Overbrook for a report of parts stripped from an automobile. 

The police report that on June 24, 2019, the victim parked an Acura CLS at the apartments parking lot on the east side.  Days later, on June 28, the victim took the car only to find that it drove poorly and was very loud. On June 30. The car was taken to a repair facility where it was diagnosed as having had its catalytic converter stolen.

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According to Police, the value of the theft was $1800, and the Police logged the call into their incident reporting system as a theft of parts.

The Police report that a few years ago thefts of catalytic converters were you common;  today, it is not as common. 

According to a leading automobile news website, thenewswheel.com, the reason that thieves target the catalytic converters is that the inside of the converter is coated with precious metals like palladium and platinum making it valuable.  

To get their hands on the part, a thief can lay next to a car, and while reaching under the car, they cut the catalytic converter out in almost no time flat, which some experts say can be less than a few minutes.  Thieves usually lay between two parked vehicles minimizing the chances to be seen when they steal the part. It is attractive to the thief since there is no sound of glass breaking, no worries about having to search the car’s interior only to come up empty-handed and most alarm systems will not detect the intruder, meaning that there is no loud car alarm. 

The thief then takes the car part to a junkyard or parts dealer who may purchase it for $200 to $300. It is typical for junkyards and automobile parts yards not to ask any questions about where the parts originated.

The victims usually find out about the theft only when they go to drive the car.  The catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system and as such, is hidden underneath the vehicle.  You would only be able to see it was missing if you got on your hands and knees and looked at the exhaust system.

When the car is started, it usually runs loud, and the engine is rough, some would say it sputters.     Dashboard indicators or warning lights like the check engine light are typically lit indicating a problem. 

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