When he came out to investigate, he saw a car driving off and found out his jeep’s catalytic converter had been stolen. Fortunately, a nearby camera captured the getaway car.
It’s a frustrating new trend for car owners, brought on in part by the rising cost of metal. Catalytic converters have precious metals in them, like Platinum and Palladium, and can only take seconds to cut off with an electric saw. But the cost to replace them for the owner of a vehicle can be thousands.
“There’s a black market somewhere that’s for sure,” Smith said.
Where ever these parts end up, there is money to be made, and an incentive to keep stealing.
The Lee County Sheriffs Office is searching for the thieves who made off with at least four of them overnight at a business park on Metro Parkway. One of those victims said he was working there overnight when he heard the sound of an electric saw around 1 a.m.
“Somebody like this, they can make $1,000 in about 3 minutes,” said Alan Smith, from Terry Wynter Auto Service in Fort Myers.