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Catalytic converter theft on the rise

By Eugenia Jones


With the recent string of catalytic converter thefts, owners of vehicles may want to take extra precautions to protect their automobiles.
Regionally and locally, catalytic converter thefts are affecting both public and private transportation. Rural Transit Enterprises Coordinated, Inc. (RTEC) has announced their offering of a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or people, responsible for stealing catalytic converters from vehicles operated by them. According to RTEC, catalytic converter theft is occurring statewide, including at their headquarters in Rockcastle County. RTEC offers critical public transportation services to local citizens throughout the area. The thefts have disrupted service-including transportation to and from urgent medical appointments.
Locally, private vehicles are being targeted. Sheriff Randy Waters noted their office has received approximately twelve reports of catalytic converters being stolen from private vehicles.
“We are conducting an ongoing investigation with tips we have received about suspects,” Sheriff Waters declared.
In one recent catalytic converter theft, a hiker/camper leaving the Barren Fork area arrived back at his parked vehicle to discover the vehicle’s catalytic converter had been stolen. The hiker/camper promptly reported the theft to local law enforcement.
Catalytic converters are stolen because there are valuable metals inside of them-including palladium, platinum, rhodium, and more. According to park, thieves can remove a catalytic converter in less than two minutes using only a wrench to remove the bolts or a reciprocating saw to remove converters that are welded onto the vehicle.
When a catalytic converter is sold as scrap in Kentucky, laws require the dealer to record ID, the transaction, and take a photo of the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is also supposed to be held for a period of time. offers the following tips to lessen the chances of vehicle owners becoming victims of catalytic converter thieves. First, park in well-lit areas and store your car in a garage. Secondly, invest in a car alarm. It is also wise to block access to the underside of a vehicle by parking near walls, fences, and curbs. This makes it difficult for thieves to slide under a vehicle to remove the converter. Finally, mount a catalytic converter lock or clamp.

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