HPD: Catalytic Converter thefts down for first time in 2 years

HOUSTON – The thefts of catalytic converters is a crime that has cost victims thousands of dollars, massive inconvenience and it has led to other violent crimes against people. However, there is good news in the fight to curb catalytic converter thefts. After a meteoric rise over the last two years, they are down in recent months, according to the Houston Police Department.

This said, there are still many victims being targeted in our backyard.

“It’s crazy, I never thought it would be me,” said Jo Ellen Johnson, just days after having her converter stolen.

The hair stylist was cutting hair at work when thieves did their own cutting under her truck and stealing her converter in little time.

“I’m out like $800,” Johnson said.

Frustration and lost dollars, involving a crime trend that has been deadly in some cases over the last year.

However, times are changing after thefts had been surging.

“First time in about two years that we have actually seen a decrease,” Sgt. Tracy Hicks with HPD’S Auto Theft Crime Task Force.

The reason?

“The driving factor to this is the price of the metals,” said Hicks in an interview with KPRC 2 Investigates.

The metals inside the converter, which is what thieves extract and sell, are not as precious as a few months ago.

As a result HPD logged approximately 100 fewer cases in August, and over 500 fewer in September.

Johnny Rodriguez, who runs JRS Mufflers and Auto in Cypress, said he also has seen a decline

“Last month we used to do like 20 a week, now it’s like to 5 to 4 a week,” said Rodriguez, who was working on Johnson’s truck.

Rodriguez said he plans to put a metal plate on it to deter thieves. It’s a practice he’s done for everyone who comes in with a cost that is hard to argue.

“Anytime a customer comes in a Tundra or Tacoma, we put these skid plates on for free as gift back to the community,” Rodriguez said.

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