HOUSTON – Maria Neri and her husband Edgar are still boiling mad over what a group of brazen thieves did to their car at the Metro Fuqua Park & Ride lot on Monday.
Sometime between 6:15 a.m. and 6:45 p.m., thieves cut the catalytic converter off the bottom of Edgars Acura MDX.
”Catalytic converters? I don’t know why all of the sudden they’re such a hot item. I guess it’s because they’re so expensive,” Maria said.
The theft rate of catalytic converters in Houston is astronomical.
According to experts, what makes these catalytic converters so attractive to thieves are the expensive materials they are made with. The rhodium, palladium, and platinum inside these converters are in short supply across the world, and so, these thieves can sell these devices for $300 and up on the black market.
KPRC2 Investigates crunched the official crime statistics and found that since 2019, catalytic converter thefts in Houston have skyrocketed by more than 2,000%.
We also found the majority of these thefts occur in commercial parking lots and take place during the day.
Police said that is because it’s very noisy cutting the catalytic converter off a car, and during the day, there is more traffic noise and noise, in general, to drown out what these thieves are doing.
The cost to replace them? Maria said is just as huge and painful to have to pay.
“We checked with the repairmen and the dealer, and I think they said between three and four thousand dollars for everything,” Maria said.
According to the Metro Police Department, a total of 11 different cars have been hit by catalytic converter thieves at the Fuqua Park & Ride lot over the past two days.
Metro police are investigating, and say they do have surveillance video of the crimes.
As for what happens next, Metro’s police chief says:
“MPD is also beefing up patrols in the area to discourage criminal activity and ensure our customers and their property are protected. MPD has worked with its law enforcement partners in the past to help apprehend suspects involved in these kinds of thefts and will continue to do so.”
Maria said she just wants the thieves who destroyed part of her car to pay for what they have done.
“It’s just getting bad. Everywhere you go it’s getting bad, and these catalytic converters are a very hot item”, Maria said.