Catalytic converter thefts on the rise in Columbia County
Bill Williams is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media that local law enforcement officers are warning residents of Columbia County of an increase in thefts of catalytic converters from parked vehicles. State police in Livingston are looking into numerous complaints of stolen catalytic converters from cars and trucks throughout the county, said Aaron Hicks, public information officer for state police Troop K. The majority of the thefts are centered in the Ghent and Philmont areas, but the number is rising in other places as well, said Beau Duffy, director of information for the state police. Duffy said state police are not investigating similar cases in Greene County. The catalytic converter is part of car's exhaust system and a functional catalytic converter is essential for any vehicle to pass safety and emissions inspections. Hicks said the thefts are happening at all hours of the day and vehicles parked close to roadways or have high-valued catalytic converters are more likely to be targeted. Trucks, which are higher off the ground, are at greater risk for theft because the converters are easier for thieves to reach. The Toyota Prius is a favorite target of thieves. Catalytic converters contain platinum, palladium and rhodium, all expensive precious metals. An ounce of platinum is priced at $1,000, while palladium is more than $2,300 and rhodium, which is extremely rare, costs more than $20,000. State police strongly encourage vehicle owners to always to lock their vehicles and park in well-lit conspicuous locations. The public can assist in preventing these thefts by remaining vigilant and reporting any signs of suspicious activity immediately to local law enforcement, whether it is a person, vehicle or noise, Hicks said. Information is available by calling the New York State Police at 845-677-7300. For emergency response, call 911, Hicks said. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.