PHOENIX — All Matt Allen can do is watch the surveillance video replays over and over after being the latest victim of catalytic converter theft.
For nearly two hours, security camera footage showed a man going from car to car stealing catalytic converters out of cars on his lot near Virginia and 7th Street.
“You feel violated,” Allen, the owner of Virginia Auto Service, said. “He’s stealing to make a living.”
The video shows a man who should be easily identifiable.
The car he was driving had a camo paint job and a bike rack. He could be seen clearly carrying a car jack and a saw between the cars.
“He went around to each car, jacked up the car, and then cut off the catalytic converter,” Allen said. “You are angry, and then you have all these thoughts about how you would love to catch them yourself.”
Thieves target catalytic converters, not for their value in controlling emissions but what’s inside.
“That honeycomb material inside. That's what they are after,” Allen explained. “Pallidum, iridium, platinum.”
The rare minerals inside go for hundreds on the black market. The converters are popular targets because they are rarely marked with anything that would trace it back to a specific car.
“How many other guys are out there? How many catalytic converters are being stolen every night?” Allen said.
While the thieves may only get a couple of hundreds of bucks for stealing the converters, the theft can be expensive to victims. Allen said the part usually costs upwards of $2,000.
“This person will be out stealing tonight, tomorrow night, and every night until he changes cars or is caught,“ Allen said.
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