The NYPD is looking to create a tracking system for car parts made out of precious metals after thefts of them have soared. There has been a reported 361% increase in stolen valuable catalytic converters from 2020 to 20201, ABC News reported.
The converters cost more than $2,000 to replace and can be sold for $500 on the black market. The car part has seven grams of the rare precious metal rhodium inside of it.
“That metal in May was going for $22,000 an ounce,” said NYPD’S Auto Crime Unit Detective Thomas Burke.
“How long does it take someone to cut this out?” he said. “Minutes, if you know what you’re doing, a couple of minutes… if you get a few in the same night by someone, it’s a pretty lucrative business.”
The NYPD’s Fleet Services Division has created a serial number and sticker kit, which would be attached to the converter by a small metal cage and the unique serial number would become permanently etched onto the converter as the metal heats up.
All the information would be put in a database for tracking. If criminals attempt to resell it, the converter could be traced back to the proper owner. If the thieves attempt to scrape off the numbers, that would be a red flag.
Police are offering the serial number kit to manufacturers and care dealers.
In the meantime, car owners are encouraged to park their cars indoors. If they are unable to access a garage, they should park their cars in well-lit, public areas.