Jiffy Lube's Scott Kenada engraves a catalytic converter with serial numbers during a media event as Jiffy Lube of Indiana, IMPD and Mayor Joe Hogsett announce an initiative created to combat high catalytic converter theft rates on August 30, 2022, at Jiffy Lube, 6322 W. Thompson Rd., Indianapolis.  The initiative offers free numbering and drawing of the catalytic converter.

Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in Indianapolis: what you can do

It was warm outside when Brandi Ellinger, 34, got into her car to drive to work. She turned her key and there she heard him – an arrogant roaring noise. She knew catalytic converter thefts were a problem on her street, and the noise confirmed her worst fear: her converter had been stolen.

Ellinger, a single mother, said she doesn’t have the money to fix the car with a new catalytic converter, which can cost upwards of a thousand dollars to replace. Instead, she sold her car to a junkyard.

“You overwhelmed me,” she said. “I was just shocked that someone would actually do this to people, just randomly take something from your car.”

Ellinger is one of hundreds of people whose catalytic converters were stolen last year, with catalytic converter thefts increasing 1,000% in the past two years, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

What is a catalytic converter?

Jiffy Lube's Scott Kenada engraves catalytic converters with serial numbers during a media event where Jiffy Lube of Indiana, IMPD and Mayor Joe Hogsett announce an initiative created to combat high rates of theft of catalytic converters on August 30, 2022, at Jiffy Lube, 6322 W. Thompson Rd., Indianapolis.  The initiative offers free numbering and drawing of the catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter is an essential part of a vehicle’s emission system and reduces the amount of harmful pollution a vehicle emits, according to Carfax. It converts harmful chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, into substances that are healthier for people to breathe, such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. The part is located between the engine and the muffler.

Why are catalytic converters valuable?

Converters can be sold for scrap or recycling to buyers for anywhere from $50 to $250, according to the National Insurance Crime Office, but the metals inside are the most valuable.

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