HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police are once again seeing an uptick in catalytic converter thefts.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum, which HPD says thieves are looking for as the price for the metal is skyrocketing.
The rise in this crime is no surprise to Robert Collins, owner of S H Fender Shop as cutting it out of a can be done in less than sixty seconds.
HPD said hybrid cars like the 2008 Toyota Prius that arrived at Collins' shop on Friday have been a target.
The vehicle’s catalytic converter was cut clean from underneath.
“They’re probably looking for specific vehicles that have a higher yield lithium or platinum or one of the precious metals that you normally find inside a catalytic converter.”
Collins is also the vice president of Hawaii’s Auto Body and Painting Association and worked with HPD in the past on catalytic converter thefts.
He says it doesn’t matter how low the car is, thieves will find a way.
“All of this damage is pretty fresh so you can see the markings where they used a small jack to lift the corner so they can get underneath,” said Collins as he referred to the Prius that was dropped off at his shop for repairs.
In April, Manoa resident Eric Lopez’s truck was parked on Dole Street near UH.
After returning to his vehicle a few hours later, Lopez noticed his catalytic converter was missing.
“I called around to some recycling places and found out in fact that a recycling place very close to where the incident occurred was collecting or had a sign posted, up to $150 for a catalytic converter and that’s encouraging people," recalled Lopez.
Lopez feels there should be some responsibility put on recycling centers, which Collins agrees with.
“If somebody is just taking a catalytic converter unit to a recycling center by itself, the likelihood of it being stolen is extremely high,” said Collins. “If they can’t really show specifically what vehicle this unit came from, then they should probably be calling HPD and looking into where this part actually came from.”
To protect your vehicle, Collins advised consulting with your local dealership as manufacturers are developing skid plates to cover the area to make it more difficult for thieves to go underneath and cut the catalytic converter.