Catalytic converter theft rises in Tulsa, surrounding area as metal prices increase

TULSA COUNTY, Okla. — Police departments in the Tulsa region are noticing an increase in theft, specifically a part that’s attached to your car.

Broken Arrow police say they’ve noticed a huge uptick in stolen catalytic converters. Officers say it’s been an issue for surrounding police agencies, also.

Officer Chris Walker with the Broken Arrow Police Department says they’ve noticed the issue grow over the last few months. He says several reports have involved commercial cars parked in business parking lots for an extended amount of time. Walker says the problem has also impacted several neighborhoods where thieves have targeted trucks that are higher off the ground and easy to get underneath.

FOX23 News reached out to a Tulsa automotive repair shop that says they’ve noticed the issue, also. Nick Mancino, a manager and installer at American Discount Brake and Muffler near 15th and Sheridan, says they had more than 100 customers come in with the same problem in just the last month. Mancino said, “Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve been doing exhaust repair for about 20 years now and it’s never ever been this bad.”

Mancino said the repairs can cost anywhere from $250-$1,400 and possibly more depending on the amount of damage underneath the car. Fortunately, insurance will usually cover it, but he says the deductible can sometimes be over a grand for some and that’s money out of your pocket. Mancino says some of the converters, depending on the model of the car, can be a challenge to find just because the theft has become such a big issue nationally.

Police say thieves are most likely targeting the converters because of their value. Officer Walker says the value of one of the precious metals in the catalytic converters has skyrocketed with the price having nearly quadrupled in just the last four years. He says thieves are most likely taking the parts and selling them at a recycling business where they can get some extra cash. He says the thieves are usually in and out from under the car in just a couple of minutes.

Local automotive repair shops recommend investing in high-sensitivity car alarms. Mancino said. “They’re annoying, but it can save you a lot of money!” He says drivers can also purchase items to actually “shield” or “cage” catalytic converters to ensure thieves can’t get to it.

Police say to call them and file a report if you noticed your car may have been targeted.