The car drum has become, in the last year, an extremely coveted part by Romanian thieves, who no longer avoid stealing the catalyst right from the supermarket parking lots, while the owners are shopping, and that’s because the piece is worth a lot of money. pawn.
Depending on the car, the catalyst is bought on the black market with prices starting from 3,000 lei, reaching 7,000 lei or even up to 1,500 euros.
Only in Bucharest, the theft of catalysts from cars exploded, with dozens of disappearances reported per week, according to the Capital Police. And among the cars spotted by thieves, for some time now, there are also hybrids, which represent a new attraction in this area. On some models, the catalyst can be cut off in just 40 seconds.
The catalyst filters out harmful gases from the engine. This piece has some plates that can be made of platinum or other precious metals. The amount can vary from car to car, but is generally from 3 grams to 10 grams. And some cars do not have a shield, being much easier for thieves to steal the car catalytic converter.
Rare metals extracted from car catalysts can be processed in Romania
It is a chemical process followed by melting metal residues. In the context in which the price of metals used in auto industry has grown a lot, catalysts have become the favorite target of thieves around the world, not only in Romania.
“These pieces are very expensive because they contain precious metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium. These metals act, in fact, as catalysts and convert gases into water vapor and low carbon dioxide emissions.
Although the amount of precious metal is only 5-7 grams – but higher compared to an engagement ring – the catalysts are sold at metal collection centers in exchange for a few hundred and even thousands of euros, depending on the type and brand the vehicle from which it comes. There are many online ads for sale catalysts, which are also sold through closed groups on Facebook Marketplace”, conform promotor.ro.
“An engagement ring has, on average, between 1.5 grams and 3 grams of silver and a cannonball 10 grams of silver. The weight of both gold and silver is similar, ie 1.5 grams of gold is equal to 1.5 grams of silver. Platinum is heavier than gold. To answer the question, an engagement ring weighs somewhere around 5-6 grams of platinum “, said for Ziare.com, Ioan Daniel Apostol, jeweler in precious metals from Bucharest.
“Catalysts are very expensive. Somewhere between 3,000 lei and 6,000 lei. These thieves have a program, they put the code on the catalyst in the program to see what metal that catalyst rarely contains. Either they sell it, or they recover those rare metals “, a car mechanic from a service in Bucharest declared for observator.ro.
Palladium is one of the most expensive metals in the world. In 2019, 28 grams were worth almost $ 2,000.
Cars spotted by thieves
According to police, the thieves are mainly targeting older car models that are supposed to have precious metals such as platinum.
However, hybrids have recently appeared on their list, because, say car experts, in hybrids the catalyst corrodes less compared to other cars, keeping the precious metal layer in a purer form. At the same time, the catalyst is one of the most expensive to replace parts, the price being between 2,300 and 3,500 euros.
Police said the thieves did not even consider whether the car was parked in an isolated area or in crowded areas. In addition, the mode of operation is very fast. Among the thieves’ favorite models are German cars, especially those made by Opel.
Targeted cars are also those with high guard, such as SUVs, MPVs or pick-ups. Thieves find it much easier to get under the car when parked and cut the catalyst with the flex.
How to prevent catalytic theft
Because thieves tend to target cars parked in less crowded areas, car experts from dailydriven.ro are of the opinion that the main precautions will refer to the place where you will leave your car parked:
- park the car in well-lit areas;
- park near the entrances of buildings or the nearest public road. Thus the car can be observed by as many people as possible;
- if you have a garage, you keep the car in the garage, it is much safer;
- add video cameras in the area where you leave your car parked;
- install an anti-theft device for the catalyst or let it be welded to the machine frame. You can also burn the VIN on the catalyst.