Battle Creek Police are cruising the city, patrolling areas that are popular for catalytic converter thieves.

The catalytic converter is a device that converts harmful exhaust emissions into less toxic substances. Catalytic converters use platinum, palladium, or rhodium as catalysts to break down the hydrocarbons in gasoline, which produce carbon monoxide and unburned fuel. The catalytic process also burns off other chemicals like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter.

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Car dealerships, car repair shops, and areas where cars are generally stored are favorite targets for thieves who make substantial earnings from selling the converters to scrap yards. On average, scrap catalytic converters are worth $300 to $1500 when sold as scrap at your local wrecking service.

The Battle Creek Police Department Fusion Center is tracking local trends and patterns in these thefts and is working with other law enforcement agencies to develop suspect profiles.

Battle Creek Police are offering the following tips, to the community, to help prevent the theft of converters and when to call for help:

  • People commonly use battery-powered reciprocating saws and battery-powered grinders to cut off catalytic converters. If you see someone walking at odd hours with these tools, call 911 to have officers check into it.
  • These tools make a lot of noise, and sometimes create sparks. If you hear someone sawing or grinding on metal during the night, and it’s not a familiar sound where you live, call 911.
  • If you see people checking cars or getting under cars in your neighborhood, and it seems suspicious, call 911.
  • Catalytic converters look similar to a muffler. If you see someone walking in your neighborhood with one of these, for no apparent reason, call 911.
  • Thieves target hybrid vehicles more often, because their catalytic converters contain more rare metals, and are worth more money when sold.
  • Thieves also target trucks and SUVs more often, because they are easier to get under.

Remember these tips to help prevent this from happening to you:

  • At night, park your car in your driveway, or in your garage with the door shut. Do not park on the street if possible.
  • If you can, make your driveway well-lit. Consider using security cameras, doorbell cameras, and motion cameras to help deter would-be thieves.
  • When in public, park your car near a building entrance or an access road. These areas have more traffic and visibility.
  • Avoid parking in a large, deserted area overnight when possible, like park-and-rides or closed businesses.

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