FYI on the $20, it's a lot more they're getting
Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise
12:23 a.m. EDT, April 01, 2008
Modern automotive thieves have become increasingly savvy, usually passing up the entire car in favor of taking the catalytic converter, the device that has a crucial role in emissions control and that contains metals far more precious than gold.
The catalytic converter contains platinum, palladium, and rhodium, all present to speed the reactions of key chemicals that scrub emissions at high temperatures. Selling the stolen devices at scrap yards and to recycling facilities, a thief can net $200 or more per converter.
Gold, which recently hit a record high at $1,000 an ounce pales in comparison to platinum, which has exceeded $2,300 an ounce. Palladium and rhodium are equally rare and equally valuable.
Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau speaking to The New York Times said, "These [catalytic converter thefts] are definitely occurring more than they have in recent memory, and why that is is definitely tied to the price of precious metals within converters."
Car owners face a replacement cost for the converter of approximately $450 although units for larger vehicles like SUVs can easily run in excess of $1,000. An added advantage for the thieves is that their activities often go undetected since they do not actually have to break into the car to get at the converter. Drivers often do not know anything has happened until they start the vehicle, which emits a roaring sound in the absence of the converter.
And the Lord said, let there be whitewater. So on Friday, the 13th day of the month....