Car owners frustrated by increase in catalytic converter thefts

PORTLAND, Ore. — Not long after police announced a dramatic increase in the number of catalytic converter thefts, more victims are coming forward with stories of thieves stealing the valuable car parts.

“It makes me really sad,” said Pamela Reinhertz.

Reinhertz woke up Friday morning to find the catalytic converter missing from her Prius. Her husband also drives a Prius. Its catalytic converter was also stolen.

“We’re on a fixed income,” said Reinhertz. “This is about $6,000 worth of theft and now we don’t have a car.”

Reinhertz is not the only one frustrated. She says two other Prius owners on her block have lost their catalytic converters over the last two weeks. Like those car owners did, Reinhertz sent her Prius and her husband’s to the shop.

“There was a theft at the place we took our car,” she said.

Reinhertz is talking about Atomic Auto. If it sounds familiar it is because KGW featured the hybrid shop less than two weeks ago. The shop has been working to stop catalytic converter thefts, but late Wednesday night the car parts were stolen off two cars in the shop parking lot. Catalytic converters are valuable because they are made with palladium. It can go for more than $1,000 per ounce.

“There needs to be some sort of overarching change with law enforcement or recycling or something to close down the market for this stolen stuff,” said Travis Decker, owner of Atomic Auto.

Reinhertz agrees that something has to be done. She says had there been stricter laws or repercussions, perhaps she and her husband would not be down two cars and staring at a hefty repair bill.

“I don’t know what you can do other than neighbors sticking together with neighbors,” she said.

RELATED: Police arrest duo accused of stealing catalytic converter from Portland car dealership