Catalytic converters stolen from Clifton NJ Elks center

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Clifton police are looking into the theft of nearly a dozen catalytic converters from the North Jersey Elks Developmental Disabilities Agency, which works with developmentally disabled children and adults.

Detective Lt. Robert Bracken said the vans used to transport students from home to the school and back were parked at the center’s Main Street building overnight when the theft occurred. Eleven of the 14 catalytic converters were stolen.

The Pew Charitable Trusts reports that thefts of catalytic converters have “skyrocketed during the pandemic” because of the spike in the value of platinum, palladium and rhodium, all metals used to make them. The devices are part of automobile emissions systems that remove harmful pollutants from exhaust.   

“This is an extremely common occurrence that we experience on just about a daily basis,” Bracken said.

Catalytic converter theft claims rose close to 300% from mid-2020 to mid-2021, Pew reported. 

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As of January, platinum was going for $981 an ounce, palladium was going for $1,848 an ounce and rhodium was going for $16,650 an ounce, according to, a precious metals retailer that tracks prices.

It’s costly to replace catalytic converters — between $1,000 and $4,000.

“It’s an absolute shame that it happened to the developmental center,” Bracken said.

Keith Oakley, a trustee for the North Jersey Elks Developmental Disabilities Agency, said the thefts of catalytic converters are nothing new. Over the years the agency has had several such thefts.

“This one is different. They got way more vehicles,” he said. 

“This one is going to hurt,” Oakley added. “The insurance will cover some, but not all.”

He said there is hope of catching the perpetrators, because the building’s landlord may have surveillance video.

“We’ll see,” he said. 

The Clifton police are investigating the incident.

Kaitlyn Kanzler covers Essex County for For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.


Twitter: @KaitlynKanzler8

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