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HPD: Man shot after confronting suspected catalytic converter thieves

The National Insurance Crime Bureau says the number of reported catalytic converter thefts has risen 300% since 2019.

HOUSTON, Texas — A shattered car window marked the spot where a northwest Houston man was also shot after police said he was confronted by up to three men trying to steal the catalytic converter from his pickup truck.

It happened around 12:30 a.m on Thursday at the Casa Grande apartments on Tidwell Road.

A woman said the victim is her brother-in-law and his truck had been targeted before -- along with other vehicles in the area.

She said the victim was shot in the chest but is expected to recover.

"There was a suspect who was actually underneath his pickup and came out, and he shot him," Houston Police Lt. Ignacio Izaguirre said.

Police at the scene said the suspects got away in a gray Dodge Charger and did not successfully remove the converter.

Crooks have been on a rampage in recent years.

"Since 2019, we’ve seen a 300% increase in the theft of catalytic converters,” National Insurance Crime Bureau President David Glawe said.

The NICB tracks such data and said it shows Texas is behind only California when it comes to catalytic converter thefts, which are driven by the value of precious metals, like platinum and rhodium, that are inside the emission cleaning devices.

"The supply chain ... the mining of these precious metals is difficult, which has caused the price to go up exponentially over the last year,” Glawe said.

However, it only takes a simple reciprocating saw and a few seconds to remove a converter.

And, despite recent laws meant to curb their re-sale, unscrupulous auto shops or salvage yards offer $150 to $200 per converter on average while replacement costs for victims can top $2,000.

Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Tips

To reduce the chances of theft, the NICB recommends vehicle owners:

  • Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device. These are available from various manufacturers and can provide a level of security from theft.
  • Park fleet vehicles in an enclosed and secured area that is well lit, locked and alarmed.
  • Park personal vehicles in a garage. If not possible and vehicles must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights. While lights may not provide complete security, they may make some thieves think twice, making them leave the area and your vehicle untouched.
  • Call local law enforcement and your insurer should you become the victim of a catalytic converter theft.

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