ST. LOUIS – Inside the garage at RPM Car Care in Brentwood, owner Rudi Cavataio showed Fox 2 how quickly catalytic converters are stolen.
“What they’ll do is roll under the car really quick and hit it with the saw right there and right there and they’re gone. They can be gone in five minutes,” Cavataio said.
The precious metals inside these converters are worth a pretty penny.
“You can get as much as $1,000 or more for these converters,” Cavataio said. “I don’t know how these thieves are stealing these things and just going out and selling them on the market.”
It’s no wonder they’re being cut from cars across the bi-state and beyond. Theft victims are frustrated, and mechanics are confused.
“It’s problem and a growing problem because of the market for it,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said.
He says cracking down takes information and cooperation.
“The more we know about where it’s happening, the more we know about the players that are involved,” Schmitt said.
“We can work with and coordinate with local law enforcement also, and try to prevent this from happening, but then go after folks once it has happened.”
Schmitt encourages theft victims and anyone who knows anything about these crimes, or anyone buying stolen parts, to call his office and police.
“Our consumer protection folks will certainly work with law enforcement and other remedies if they’re available to help people out that’s what they’re there for,” Schmitt said.
Cavataio added, “I don’t know about punishment, but just as far as trying to keep control of the situation, there’s got to be documentation. For me to sell a converter to a scrap man that comes in, it needs to be documented.”