Omaha Police says the pandemic is a catalyst for catalytic converter thefts

Omaha Police report the number of catalytic converter thefts has jumped over the past 15 months, and they’re pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason why. OPD Lt. Kyle Steffen with the Auto Theft Unit said with the economic downturn and supply shortage of precious metals, catalytic converters are very valuable. “We’re looking at rhodium, palladium, platinum, the market value of those is just extremely high right now,” said Steffen.A few weeks ago, Theresa Jorgensen was going to run some morning errands, so she tried to start up her Honda CRV.”It made a big loud sound,” said Jorgensen. “And I thought ‘What the heck is this?'”Her daughter looked underneath to find wires cut and the catalytic converter gone. Jorgensen said she can’t afford hundreds of dollars to buy a brand new converter, much less a new car.”I’m getting around by cab which is a, oh boy, a high dollar,” said Jorgensen. “It takes me $10 to go to the closest grocery store there was back and forth.”Steffen said OPD is working with scrap and pawnshops to catch and arrest some of these people. Many of them are stealing converters from large, poorly lit parking lots with trucks or buses. “Some of the larger commercial trucks, they’re getting up to several hundred dollars for a single catalytic converter, and then as well as the low emission vehicles as well,” said Steffen. “They’re getting up to a couple hundred dollars for those converters.”If you have any information on these thefts, you’re asked to call Omaha Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP.

Omaha Police report the number of catalytic converter thefts has jumped over the past 15 months, and they’re pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason why.

OPD Lt. Kyle Steffen with the Auto Theft Unit said with the economic downturn and supply shortage of precious metals, catalytic converters are very valuable.

“We’re looking at rhodium, palladium, platinum, the market value of those is just extremely high right now,” said Steffen.

A few weeks ago, Theresa Jorgensen was going to run some morning errands, so she tried to start up her Honda CRV.

“It made a big loud sound,” said Jorgensen. “And I thought ‘What the heck is this?'”

Her daughter looked underneath to find wires cut and the catalytic converter gone.
Jorgensen said she can’t afford hundreds of dollars to buy a brand new converter, much less a new car.

“I’m getting around by cab which is a, oh boy, a high dollar,” said Jorgensen. “It takes me $10 to go to the closest grocery store there was back and forth.”

Steffen said OPD is working with scrap and pawnshops to catch and arrest some of these people. Many of them are stealing converters from large, poorly lit parking lots with trucks or buses.

“Some of the larger commercial trucks, they’re getting up to several hundred dollars for a single catalytic converter, and then as well as the low emission vehicles as well,” said Steffen. “They’re getting up to a couple hundred dollars for those converters.”

If you have any information on these thefts, you’re asked to call Omaha Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP.

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