The skyrocketing worth of the valuable metals inside catalytic converters has launched a large black market business the place thieves are cashing in on a reasonably unregulated world of patrons.
Data supplied by police departments in Denver and Boulder present greater than 4,000 catalytic converter thefts within the two cities because the starting of 2021.
In latest months, Denver7 has produced a number of stories exposing the rising considerations round catalytic convert theft. A number of viewers responded asking the place and the way thieves can flip the metallic from a automobile’s exhaust system into cash.
To reply, members of the Denver7 Investigates workforce visited quite a lot of scrap yards and companies within the Denver metro space, making an attempt to raised perceive the shopping for course of.
Carrying hidden cameras, the Denver7 Investigates workforce went to greater than six scrap yards and companies that often buy catalytic converters, discovering many places reticent to buy the catalytic converters Denver7 obtained from a scrap yard to conduct this check.
One employee stated they now not purchase the precious engine exhaust elements as a result of they’re typically stolen. When a Denver7 Investigates staffer performing undercover requested one other location about info that the elements have been seemingly price as a lot as $6,000, the worker acknowledged one may most likely get that a lot cash, however not at her location.
“The legislation is now altering, and we will now not purchase from the general public,” she stated.
One other location that supplied a cheaper price to buy the converter stated that the thefts have been the rationale they have been providing much less cash. In addition they warned of locations that have been providing excessive greenback quantities.
“When you discover any individual to pay you that a lot, I encourage you to try this,” they stated. “I’ll warn you — you would possibly get into some bother.”
At the moment, Colorado’s legislature is contemplating two separate legal guidelines so as to add guardrails to the sale of after-market catalytic converters. Legislation enforcement leaders have pressured lawmakers to disincentivize the sale of stolen catalytic converters. Lawmakers are anticipated to determine on potential legislation modifications earlier than the session ends later this month.
In keeping with statewide data, thieves stole 9,811 catalytic converters throughout Colorado final yr. In Denver, thefts rose from 14 in 2019 to 2,671 in 2021. Up to now, greater than 700 have been stolen this yr.
Whereas Denver7 Investigates discovered a number of places avoiding the attainable buy of stolen catalytic converters, there have been additionally a number of places keen to pay for the elements. Denver7 Investigates solely requested for worth quotes on the catalytic converters and by no means supposed to finish the sale.
In a previous report, video confirmed it takes lower than 15 seconds to noticed off a catalytic converter. The worth comes from what’s contained in the catalytic converters, together with treasured metals corresponding to platinum, palladium and rhodium, that are all buying and selling at report costs.
One location outdoors of Denver visited by undercover Denver7 Investigates workers was keen to buy the converters for larger quantities. A workers member supplied $220 for one converter and $70 for an additional. They stated they might pay money for the half and the vendor solely wanted to indicate ID. Denver7 just isn’t offering the identify or location of this enterprise to keep away from contributing to additional legal exercise.
Following two separate visits to that location, Denver7 Investigates returned to ask extra questions in entrance of seen cameras.
An worker stated they buy roughly 500 catalytic converters per day and that there isn’t a approach for them to know if they’re stolen.
“It’s not my job to say you’re a thief or in the event that they’re stolen,” an worker stated.
That location, by all indications, was following present legal guidelines in Colorado for buying after-market catalytic converters.
A person who recognized himself because the proprietor of the enterprise stated he welcomed new legal guidelines to extend laws for promoting catalytic converters.
“It’s very unlucky. We have to replace the legal guidelines,” he stated.