Police: Catalytic converters cut from vehicles at Hempfield auto shop

Point out law enforcement are investigating the theft of catalytic converters — a lot more precisely the important metals they incorporate — from a Hempfield automobile maintenance store last week.

Police stated catalytic converters ended up stolen from a few automobiles at Arona Car Care on Arona Highway, in between the night of April 27 and morning of April 28.

Thefts of catalytic converters “literally can occur in just a number of seconds,” when a particular person slides under a car or truck and cuts it off, according to Pennsylvania Condition Law enforcement Trooper Steve Limani, spokesman at the Greensburg station.

Catalytic converters — created of the metals platinum, palladium and rhodium — can cost $1,500 to substitute. The thief could possibly get a few hundred bucks on the underground marketplace.

“Whenever the cost of unusual metals and recyclables goes up, sadly, it’s a criminal offense that sort of follows alongside with it,” Limani mentioned.

Past calendar year, law enforcement investigated a rash of catalytic converter thefts, which includes 1 in Oct at Valero Century RV north of Delmont, that impacted 35 autos. And in early 2021, condition law enforcement investigated a theft of catalytic converters from about 30 autos in Somerset and Fayette counties.

In the Town of Pittsburgh, nearly 80 catalytic converters had been stolen from motor vehicles in 2021, in accordance to police, who said that amount is presently up to 65 this year.

Limani questioned men and women to pay back attention for potential thieves when they’re in significant parking tons.

“It’s costing the person which is the sufferer, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000 to exchange,” he stated.

Limani mentioned the thefts could stop if the perpetrator gets caught or the important metal value drops. The recycling facilities are liable for using identification when they acquire precious metals.

“The very last factor we want to do is strip a recycling center of their livelihood but all those individuals … would know due to the fact they are mainly the gurus,” he said.

Duffy Friedlander, who owns the Daniels & Miller scrap recycling heart in Greensburg, famous it’s against the legislation for a organization these kinds of as his to get a detached catalytic converter from an particular person. He mentioned he discourages persons from attempting to promote catalytic converters to him by citing an extremely reduced price.

“I really do not want to deal with them,” he reported.

The operator of a Brackenridge metallic recycling centre grew so disgusted with the illegal activity connected to catalytic converters that he stopped obtaining them entirely.

“The only way we invest in a catalytic converter is with a vehicle attached to it,” said Ted Tomson, proprietor of Tomson’s Scrap Steel, which has destinations in Brackenridge and Harrison. “I never want to be included in any of that.”

It utilised to be that a catalytic converter would sell for $5 or $10 or $20, Tomson said, but now they can go for up to $1,000, based on the type of car or truck.

Pennsylvania’s Act 70 of 2014 also prohibits scrap dealers from purchasing other materials from individuals — such as beer kegs, railroad components and total-sized new resources applied in development or tools and equipment utilized by contractors.

A scrap processor who violates the legislation can be liable for a wonderful of up to $2,500 for an initial summary offense. Any subsequent violation is graded additional seriously, as a 3rd-diploma misdemeanor.

Friedlander reported the only catalytic converters he accepts are these he buys as element of an intact automobile.

“When we obtain a complete vehicle from somebody, we’re getting a title for the motor vehicle and all the areas for it,” he stated.