LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department just released some new figures on catalytic converter thefts through January 1.
The department has received 1,283 reports of thefts.
Thieves steal catalytic converters for the precious metals inside that can be worth much more than gold. Repairs can range from hundreds to even thousands of dollars.
While a special task force of area law enforcement continues to crack down and makes arrests, some businesses are showing FOX5 some devices drivers are using to prevent thieves from stealing converters.
“It just has become a crazy trend,” said Zenith Auto Care owner and manager Alexei Guinitaran.
Guinitaran sells and installs metal plates that cover catalytic converters so thieves can’t cut them out. He said just seeing a device may be enough to deter a thief from stealing a catalytic converter.
“If they see that big plate under there, they’re just going to move on to the next because they want to be in and out within a few minutes. They don’t want to be cutting a big metal plate off, making a lot of noise. They’re trying to do this secretly and quickly,” said Guinitaran.
Guinitaran said he’s sold about 50 plates so far. They come custom for several car models, including the Toyota Prius, which Guinitaran said is popular with thieves because they have two catalytic converters.
“Of the ones we’ve put on, I’ve never had a car come back, had theirs stolen,” he said.
Guinitaran also showed some metal boxes and a cable kit that people can have installed around their converters too.
“Real high-tension cable that you can’t cut through,” he said.
Sansone’s Automotive recently had an etching event with Henderson Police. Shop workers etched vin numbers into catalytic converters and painted converters with heat resistant red paint. Police say the measures will make it easier to connect a theft to a suspect and prosecute if those converters are found with a suspect.
“So, it just kind of alarms them (thieves) when they see it. That we’re on to you. So, they’ll go to the next car, unfortunately,” said Sansone’s co-owner Mac Logue.
Drivers with full insurance will typically be covered if a theft happens, but many will have to pay a deductible.