Colorado State Patrol: Catalytic converter thefts “sky rocket”

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Cars all across the state have become subject to thieves climbing under them and cutting out catalytic converters.

“There’s precious metals inside of them that are very expensive, even by the ounce and, ultimately, that is what the thieves are going for,” Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis said.

It only takes minutes, but thefts leave customers out of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars.

Phil Boatright, owner of Discount Exhaust, said he has customer after customer coming in after falling victim to catalytic converter thefts.

“Steadily increases because the word gets out that they can get three, to five, six, to eight hundred bucks a piece,” Boatright told FOX21 News.

It isn’t just personal vehicles that are in danger.

“Most of them are in fleet services like school buses that have 25, 35, school buses,” Boatright explained. “They go in there and cut them off at night or on the weekend.”

With all of that in mind, the Colorado State Patrol and AAA have created a new way to provide additional protection against thieves: serial numbers.

“They’re etched on, they can’t be removed,” Lewis said. “There are also stickers and other markings on it so would-be thieves will see as they go into it, they’re not going to be able to fence this.”

But can’t the markings be sawed, scraped or peeled off?

“Even if they tried to scrape them off, sand them off, there are different chemical agents that can make them show back up,” Lewis explained.

Drivers are urged to contact AAA and find a location where they can take their cars and get the markings. Officials say for most locations, the service is free but the protection is priceless.

For more information about catalytic converter theft and how to protect yourself, click here.

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