‘Most Valuable Metal On The Planet’ Stolen In Hudson Valley, NY
Police across the Hudson Valley continue to receive reports of the "most valuable metal on the planet" being stolen.
On Monday, Eastchester Police Department confirmed police are investigating the theft of catalytic converters in Westchester County, NY.
"Our department is aware of and investigating the theft of catalytic converters within the Town. Over the past several weeks, patrol officers have used different methods to deter the thefts including undercover patrol, increased residential patrol, and collaborating with other law enforcement agencies," the Eastchester Police Department stated.
Catalytic Converters Stolen From Parked Cars in Hudson Valley, Westchester County, Eastchester, New York
Police say suspects from within the Husdon valley typically arrive in the early morning hours using stolen vehicles that can be driven at high rates of speed.
"If officers attempt to stop the suspects they flee, leading to a police pursuit, generally towards the New York City border," the Eastchester Police Department said.
Suspects target older vehicles, particularly Hondas, the Toyota Prius, and other hybrid cars because their catalytic converters have more valuable metals inside. Newer model vehicles tend to use less expensive metal, officials say.
On Sunday, the Eastchester Police Department was notified of the possible theft of catalytic converters in the Green Knolls area. Officers soon observed two vehicles matching the description of the vehicles involved. The vehicles had temporary license plates, and after checking their registration we believed they were stolen, officials say.
"Our officers attempted a traffic stop on the vehicles on Garth Rd. Immediately upon attempting to stop the vehicles both vehicles failed to pull over and sped off southbound on Garth Rd. and onto the Bronx River Parkway. Several officers from our department, as well as surrounding jurisdictions, continued to follow the vehicles, which were fleeing at a high rate of speed. As the officers followed the vehicles for several miles, they continued to flee at a high rate of speed, becoming more reckless. Due to the potential danger to both the public and officers involved, officers discontinued trying to stop the vehicles. The vehicles were last seen fleeing southbound on I-87 in Yonkers towards New York City," the Eastchester Police Department added.
Catalytic Converters Stolen From Parked Cars in Columbia County
Last month, New York State Police from the Livingston barracks reported they have seen a recent uptick in stolen catalytic converters from vehicles in the Columbia County area.
New York State Police strongly encourage vehicle owners to always lock their vehicles and park in well-lit conspicuous locations.
"Exterior sensor lighting, driveway alarms, and video surveillance systems may also help prevent your vehicle from being targeted or aid the criminal investigation," New York State Police said in a press release.
Rise in Thefts in Hudson Valley
Hudson Valley residents can further assist the police in preventing these crimes by remaining alert and reporting any signs of suspicious activity immediately to local law enforcement, whether it be a person, vehicle, or noise, police say.
General tips for vehicle owners to prevent the thefts of catalytic converters: Park your vehicle in a garage if available. If a garage is not available, park as close to your residence as possible, near motion lights or security cameras. Have your mechanic etch your VIN number into your catalytic converter. If you hear a disturbance or power tools being used by a vehicle, especially during the overnight hours, please contact your local police department immediately.
Catalytic Converters Considered 'Most Valuable Metal On The Planet'
Searches about why the metal in a catalytic converter is valuable saw a 5,000 percent increase in the past year, according to Scientific American.
The reason the metal in a catalytic converter is "the most valuable metal on the planet."
"More valuable than silver, gold, platinum, or even jewelry," Andrew Robinson continues in the Scientific American article. "Rhodium is a key ingredient in every car sold in the United States since around 1975. It’s part of a system that cleans out pollutants and prevents them from entering the atmosphere. And it’s also the reason why thieves across the U.S. are sawing off catalytic converters in order to get their hands on a few precious grams of the world’s most valuable metal."
More valuable than silver, gold, platinum, or even jewelr
In 1970, Congress passed the “Clean Air Act.” The act called for a 90 percent reduction in automobile emissions. That's when researchers developed what is the modern three-way catalytic converter.
"The converter itself sits just behind the exhaust manifold and before the muffler. It’s purpose: to reduce 3 harmful types of emission: carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (or unburned fuel), and nitrous oxides. The converter on regular fuel vehicles is simple: a stainless steel shell surrounds a ceramic honeycomb monolith— that monolith is coated with three important precious metals: platinum, palladium, and rhodium," Robinson adds.