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Posted on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Catalytic converter thefts: 7 stolen in Pittsfield as county sees spike

By Kyle Feldscher

A recent spike in the number of catalytic converter thefts at apartment complexes in Pittsfield Township has police reminding residents to keep an eye on their vehicles.

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Pittsfield Township Deputy Police Chief Gordy Schick said catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles parked at the Golfside Lakes, Ridgewood, Spice Tree and Glencoe Hills apartment complexes between Sept. 16 and Saturday. Schick said catalytic converter thefts were getting less frequent before last week’s sudden spike.

“We’re now starting to see an increase in those thefts again,” he said. “We’re increasing patrols in those areas and we encourage folks in those areas, if they see something, to give us a call.”

In the last week, at least eight catalytic converters have been reported stolen in various parts of Washtenaw County, including the University of Michigan’s North Campus, Ypsilanti Township and Ann Arbor Township.

Catalytic converter thefts were a big issue about a year ago in Washtenaw County, but Schick said the number of thefts reported to Pittsfield Township police had slowed down during the last few months.

The converters fetch between $70 and $80 from scrap metal dealers and contain precious metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium. Catalytic converters convert toxic fumes into non-toxic gases released by a vehicle’s exhaust system.

All of the thefts in Pittsfield Township were reported to have occurred in the overnight hours, Schick said. Most were reported between midnight and 7 a.m.; however, one incident was reported between 9 p.m. and 2 p.m., Schick said. It's unknown at this point if all the thefts are related or are some how related to other thefts in the county.

Anyone with information on these thefts is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800 SPEAK UP (773-2537).

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Sep 30, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

If u got something that's valuable watch it because there is someone out there who wants it.


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

I am aware that these thefts in other areas happen to vehicles with high clearance. Does anyone know what types of vehicles these were stolen from?

Ron Granger

Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

Is it possible they are using the converter to smoke crack?


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

Are they targeting certain vehicles? Or certain years?

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sat, Sep 29, 2012 : 1:31 a.m.

plus/minus a sigma or two, no diff


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

Easy vehicles....the higher off the ground the better....probably.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

I think an increase was predictable and will continue since your staff insists on reporting the value of this part. $70-$80 per part! I would do it myself if I didn't have any principles. Are you encouraging the thefts to get more stories?

Angry Moderate

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

Let's crack down on the buyers...we need a state law banning scrap yards from buying these unless you can prove ownership. Hopefully the thugs who are responsible for this are too dumb to sell them online.


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 2:41 a.m.



Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

Sounds fine and dandy on paper....but how exactly will that stop unscrupulous buyers from buying them anyway? And who's going to pay to have the police go around to scrap yards across the state and enforce it? Let me guess: a new catalytic converter tax. And why is everyone so sure these are being sold for scrap? It's just as likely if not more so, that these are being sold on the stolen car parts black market. The pay off is significantly greater to the thief. Cats cost upwards of many hundreds of dollars if bought new. Thieves can sell them to unscrupulous parts dealers and repair shops, who then charge the end customer full price for a used/stolen cat. The shop and the thieves pocket the difference. And since the thieves aren't stealing entire cars, the risk to them of getting caught is a lot lower.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

That just seems too easy...sigh


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

"The converters fetch between $70 and $80 from scrap metal dealers and contain precious metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium." There's a big site online that buys them....they even offer free freight shipping if you have 30 or more converters to sell. Now if you're a scrap just offer people 50% of whatever you'd get from this place offer them even less when it's obvious they're stolen cats....


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

I don't think any local dealers will even buy one from you if you don't have proof of where you got it.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

Thefts occur in the middle of the night when most people are sleeping. Police say keep an eye on your vehicle. Should we all sleep in our cars from now on?


Sun, Sep 30, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

good point


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

Just like keeping windows and doors locked. Oh, the thieves kicked in the garage back door, blowing out the door frame and both locks to gain entry. This is the only advice they can give after the fact. Not too helpful at all.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Add ours to the list; car gone by 7 am on Tues morning. We're off Crane south of MIch Ave, just down the street.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Really ? that's a nice area.Can you see your house from the road ? is it set far back ?


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

simple solution. drive a sports car withOUT cats ;)


Sun, Sep 30, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

r u a car salesman


Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

There is no such vehicle nowdays. Even a 1 ton diesel pickup has a cconverter on it.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

How do you know if your catalytic converter has been stolen? Will your exhaust sound different... fumes look different? etc etc..

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sat, Sep 29, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

your vehicle's exhaust system would be running (oh, yes, it WILL start) with (aobut) 3-foot straight pipes (!!) .. think nhra drag race music at the christmas tree's green light. yup, you -will- know.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

It's like you no longer have a muffler attached....because you don't......extremely loud.

Julie Baker

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

My catalytic converter was stolen a few years ago when I lived in the Bay City area. I immediately knew something was wrong when I started my car. It was *very* loud. I thought something was just wrong with my car until I heard from neighbors that their catalytic converters were stolen.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

car will start. some modern cars have sensors downstream of them and will light the "check engine" light. and it will usually be a LOT louder because they cut it out or unbolt it out and dont reconnect the pipes.

music to my ear

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

maybe your car wont start