Catalytic converter theft plaguing Southwest Florida drivers

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LEE COUNTY, Fla. – Authorities in Lee County are asking car owners to be on high alert after a string of catalytic converter thefts are being reported across the county.

The FGCU Police Department recently responded to multiple thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles parked at West Lake Village.

The two vehicles targeted were both Mitsubishi Outlanders. The converters were stolen sometime between August 14th and the 16th and were believed to have been removed at night, between 9:30 pm and 11:30 pm.

This comes after multiple vehicles had their catalytic converters stolen from the Gulf Coast Town Center over the past week, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

LCSO responded to a Fort Myers business on Monday after an older F-150 was stripped of its catalytic converter. A representative of TPI Aluminum Specialties also mentioned that neighboring companies had similar thefts on their vehicles.

The catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system and helps reduce pollutants that are reduced in the air. It is found beneath the vehicle and can be removed relatively easily with a reciprocating saw. Thieves can easily slide under a vehicle and cut the device free in a short amount of time.

Why do people target catalytic converters? Because inside the component contains several precious and valuable metals including platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

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You will know if your catalytic converter has been removed. When you start your vehicle, it will make a thunderous and incredibly unpleasant noise. If you notice your converter has been removed, you are asked to contact law enforcement and your insurance company immediately.

To help prevent catalytic converter theft, LCSO and FGCU Police recommend parking in a well-lit and highly visible area to reduce the likelihood of theft. They also suggest that if you see suspicious activity happening around you or your neighbor’s vehicles, report it.

Tags: Catalytic ConverterFGCU police departmentLee County Sheriff’s OfficeTheft

 

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