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The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and Rochester Police Department say they have been getting frequent calls about catalytic converter thefts since last fall, but no arrests have been made. The most recent, according to KROC News, happened at Legend’s Concrete. The devices were removed from three commercial vehicles last weekend. The loss was put at $13,000.

So, what is a catalytic converter and why are people stealing them?

Allstate Insurance explains, “Catalytic converters are designed to act as a line of defense against harmful exhaust system emissions by turning pollutants into harmless gasses, according to Cars.com. Thieves target catalytic converters because they contain precious metals, like platinum, palladium, or rhodium, that are valuable to metal dealers.”

These thefts are happening all around the country because the price of these metals has skyrocketed over recent years. For example, The NY Times says, an ounce of palladium would cost $500 five years ago, now it’s valued at $2,875 an ounce.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there "were 108 catalytic converter thefts per month on average in 2018, 282 average monthly thefts in 2019, and 1,203 average thefts per month in 2020."  Minnesota currently ranks third in the country in catalytic converter thefts. The NICB says 18 states, including Minnesota, are "evaluating potential legislative actions to curb the theft problem."

So how do you protect yourself? The simplest way to prevent this from happening to you is to park in a garage. When that's not available the insurance experts urge you to park in a well-lit area. Replacing a catalytic converter can cost between $1,000 and $2,500.

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