Officials are trying to crack down on Toyota catalytic converter thefts in Broward, Martin County

Pembroke Park, Fla. – Broward and Martin County Sheriff’s issued a warning to Toyota drivers Thursday, saying the Tundra and Tacoma are on the hotlist for stealing the most catalytic converters in the United States.

Two Toyota service centers told Local 10’s Liane Morejon that they have Toyota Tundras and Tacomas in their shops awaiting replacement converters.

Martin County officials are warning owners of these trucks about what makes these cars vulnerable and attractive to thieves, and how to make it harder for them to steal.

Five tundras were recently hit in Martin County, according to deputies.

Goodyear operations manager Scott Atchisson said he sees about five stolen cars every six months.

Atchisson, who has shopped at the Goodyear on Pembroke Road in Hollywood for nearly 20 years, told Local 10 News that thieves are targeting the precious metals on the converters.

“These thieves know which catalysts contain more or less valuable precious metals,” says Atchisson. “The cordless tools now available can be cut out in 10 minutes.”

Catalytic converters use precious metals to convert gases from your car into something less harmful like CO2 and water.

According to Atchisson, these precious metals can be worth thousands of dollars.

“If it were a state requirement that all discarded catalysts be registered with the VIN number with whoever recycles them, that would end the problem immediately, or cut 90% of it off,” he said.

The Martin County Sheriff says tundras are attractive to thieves because they have 4 catalysts that have a higher percentage of precious metals.

The truck itself has high suspension which allows for easier access to the converter.

“A slightly higher 4WD, truck or SUV makes it a lot easier,” Atchisson said.

Freddy Matos, a mechanic and Toyota owner, told Local 10 that thieves cut up and stole two of his converters.

“They usually tend to steal the Toyotas,” Matos said.

Atchisson suggested that people should buy cages so that the built-in mechanical mount would prevent any theft.

Experts advise anyone who has a converter to park in well-lit areas and etch or paint their VIN number on the converter, which would make it traceable and potentially unsaleable.

Copyright 2022 by WPLG – All rights reserved. Officials are trying to crack down on Toyota catalytic converter thefts in Broward, Martin County

Sarah Y. Kim

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