MILWAUKEE — Catalytic converters are still in demand on the black market in Milwaukee and across the country.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that as of April 11 in the city, thieves had stolen 497 car parts, up 19% from the same time last year.
“There’s all kinds of guys on the internet buying catalytic converters, and I think that’s what spiked the theft because they pay top dollar for this stuff,” said David Manyo, owner of Manyo Motors in Milwaukee.
He says catalytic converter clamps can make it more difficult for car thieves to steal the parts, but there’s no guarantee car owners would be fully protected.
“We’ve had them taken in broad daylight in the middle of the street,” Manyo said.
His shop has also fallen victim to the thefts. Thieves stole catalytic converters to four of their vehicles in the car lot during the holidays in 2019.
“That’s when we started really seeing a rash of them,” he said. “We probably had 8, 9 customers within a two week period that had them cut off, and it progressively got worse.”
Manyo fears that the thefts will continue so long as there are buyers willing to pay the price.
“I just honestly wish that someone could get a hold of these places that are recycling these things,” he said. “It’s like when you scrap a car. You can’t just walk in and drive a car over the scale and get paid for it. You have to go in with documentation.”
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