Catalytic converter theft in Southwest Virginia an ongoing problem

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Catalytic converter thefts continue to be a problem here in southwest Virginia, according to local auto shop owners.

“It’s a big thing, people are short on cash right now with how things are going with the economy,” said Carson East, owner of Southwest Muffler. “People are looking to make a quick buck and that’s one of the easiest ways they’re going to do it.”

East frequently sees people in his shop dealing with catalytic converter thefts.

“The standard cost ... I mean you’re going to range everywhere from 350 to almost 1000 dollars for some of them,” East said. “They’re very expensive things.”

East said certain cars are more likely to be hit.

“Kias, Hyundais, vehicles like that,” East said. “The hybrids are the top dollar right now.”

Plus, where you park plays a role.

“More towards the cities is the biggest problem right now,” East said. “Where there’s street parking, parking garages, places like that where there’s not a whole of cameras but there’s a whole lot of cars to choose from.”

He said one of the preventative measures you can take is installing a deterrent, whether that be a shield, cage or special threaded bolts.

“There’s no 100% foolproof way to keep someone from doing it,” East said. “If you have a deterrent on there, they’re not going to waste their time trying to mess with that.”

People who are caught stealing a catalytic converter could face up to five years in prison. A law passed last year upped the punishment from a Class 1 Misdemeanor to a Class 6 Felony.

We’ve reached out to local law enforcement agencies for the number of catalytic converter thefts in our area this year. We’re still waiting to hear back.

About the Author:

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.