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Catalytic converter thefts in Arizona jump more than 350% between 2020 and 2022

The National Insurance Crime Bureau says more than 64,000 catalytic converters were reported stolen to insurance companies in 2022, that’s almost 50,000 more than in 2020.

Catalytic converters control a car’s exhaust emissions and contain rare earth metals, which are more valuable than gold. Thieves can cut and steal converters in minutes. 

The Crime Bureau says metal recyclers pay between $50 and $250 for a converter and up to $800 for one removed from a hybrid. Allstate insurance company reports its catalytic converter replacements have increased more than 2,000% in Arizona since 2019. 

In a press release, Craig Edmonds, vice president of auto physical damage claims for Allstate, said, “Catalytic converter thefts exploded during the pandemic. Supply chain disruptions raised the value of these parts. And because they’re relatively easy to steal, theft rings have pounced, creating a multimillion-dollar black market enterprise. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim.”

Depending on the vehicle, replacements can cost several hundred to a few thousand dollars.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.