You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

Three catalytic converters stolen Tuesday in Ypsilanti

By Kyle Feldscher

Catalytic converters were stolen off of three cars Tuesday in Ypsilanti, continuing a countywide problem associated with the scrap metal trade, according to police.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to the 1500 block of Collegewood Street for a report of a nighttime theft of a catalytic converter from a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier, according to police.

A similar incident was reported in the 400 block of West Michigan Avenue. A catalytic converter was stolen from a 1997 Mercury Villager sometime between 10 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to police.

A catalytic converter was also reported stolen at 6:18 p.m. Tuesday from a vehicle outside a home in the 1400 block of Gregory Street, according to police.

Catalytic converters are prized by scrap metal thieves due to the precious metals found inside of the parts. Catalytic converters convert toxic engine exhaust fumes into non-toxic gases that can be released from the vehicle. Among the metals inside catalytic converters are platinum, rhodium and palladium.

According to scrap metal buyers, a catalytic converter can fetch between $70 and $80 when resold.

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


John Barr Jr.

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

I like YpsiLivin's comments on preventing these thefts. This sounds like it would make sense.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

If they were smart they'd leave notes under the windshield wiper where the owner can get a used catalytic converter (may even be theirs!) XD


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

The auto manufacturers could stamp the vehicle VIN into the catalytic converter case. If you want to sell a catalytic converter for scrap, you need to produce ID and the registration of the vehicle it came from. No registration, no sale. Then, scrap dealers should also be required to record the sale and report the VIN to the police department. If the VIN turns up on a police report for a stolen catalytic converter, that shortens the distance between the thief and the police. And, if a scrap dealer ends up buying stolen catalytic converters, they should get shut down for fencing stolen goods.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

added cost, but not impossible. If each catalytic converter had a unique QR code lasered or etched onto it, and at the time of assembly the QR code was scanned and recorded just before it was placed on the vehicle, then there would be near perfect traceability to the VIN on the car.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

Maybe give the part a number and attach it to the cars vin? Just a thought.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

There's more than one catalytic converter on a vehicle - there are also light-offs, and there are many combinations of substrates within the shells. It's the substrates that are prizes, and some vehicles have six or more. It would be an impossible task to match a particular converter to a particular VIN prior to the assembly line, given the vast number of combinations, even for the same model vehicle.

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 11 a.m.

That's an idea, but those converters likely come from a parts supplier who produces them en masse for several different vehicles and manufacturers. It would be difficult to stamp a VIN into them at the time of production.


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

Pitiful, that people don't have anything else to do!


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

@u812; Not a fan of more government, more useless laws etc., but in this case, I have to agree with you. Something like you can't buy a catalytic converter unless it is attached to the car at time of purchase, or unless you buy the whole car, something like that.


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

It should be illegal to scrap catalytic converters,now that would be something productive that our legislature could do.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

I totally agree. Especially the cost and risk of taking one off a car just to sell it? Can make more doing something legal then this.