Catalytic converter thefts becoming a ‘serious problem’ in the Lowcountry

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Many law enforcement agencies in the Lowcountry agree that catalytic converter thefts are becoming a huge problem.

A catalytic converter is part of a car’s exhaust system. They are typically a hot item on the black market because they contain 3 precious metals: rhodium, palladium and platinum.

Deputies are still investigating an incident in Berkeley County from Tuesday morning involving a man who was caught stealing catalytic converters from PA Auto Sale.

Sheriff L.C. Knight from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve seen 24 reports of catalytic converter theft since August 1st.

“They figured out they can get it quick, easy, and still get a good chunk of change out of it,” he says, “what we’ve learned is these things will bring anywhere from $150 – $2,000 dollars.”

Sheriff L.C. Knight looking through recent reports of catalytic converter theft in Dorchester County

The reports show that most of the thefts take place at night, on the weekends, in car lots, on the side of the road and at churches. Knight says one of the biggest challenges law enforcement faces is being able to catch the thieves in action.

“It doesn’t take long to cut them off. They’ve got these little saws with the battery pack on them and they can crawl underneath the car with a flashlight and in a matter of minutes they’re out and gone,” says Knight.

Investigators with the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office have reached out to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office to see if Tuesday’s case is related to any of the theft activity in Dorchester County.

To protect your vehicle from catalytic converter theft, Knight reccommends parking in brightly-lit areas, in a garage and if possible away from the street.