Here’s how to protect yourselves against theft of catalytic converters in Metro Detroit

Theft of catalytic converters since 2020 has increased by 325%

DEARBORN, Mich. – Here are a few tips on protecting yourself against the theft of catalytic converters in Metro Detroit as the costly crime is on the rise.

Surveillance video captured the crime in progress as thieves made their move on a Ford SUV. They were gone in the blink of an eye.

Moments later, the owner of the SUV, Elizabeth Washington, hopped her vehicle and could tell immediately that something was wrong.

“It sounds like your muffler is super loud and rumbly,” said Washington. “But it just sounds scarier than when your muffler just falls off of your car.”

Help Me Hank: You knew something was wrong?

Washington: Yeah, something was wrong.

Washington, a digital producer for, was parked at a busy shopping area in Dearborn when thieves took off with her vehicle’s catalytic convertor.

“Why is it so easy to steal,” Washington said. “I know that people can make profit off of it as there were three other people at the mechanic with the same problem too.”

The theft of catalytic converters since 2020 has increased by 325%. The repairs are costly as they average between $1,000-$3,000.

Read: Catalytic converter theft is on the rise: Here are the most targeted cars

Here is a list of the four most targeted vehicles in the Midwest:

  • Ford F-Series (1985-2021)
  • Jeep Patriot (2007-2017)
  • Chrysler 200 (2011-2017)
  • Chevrolet Equinox (2005-2021)

Help Me Hank: How much would you be without if someone takes off with one of these (catalytic converters)?

Scott Gaponik: I’d say, on average, you’d be out of about $1,000.

Gaponik of All Around Auto in Farmington Hills said everyone must protect their cars by parking in a well-lit area or parking near others and also by investing in a catalytic converter lock.

“The lock secures the catalytic converter,” Gaponik said. “It’s more of a deterrent than a lock. If someone was to crawl up under a car, they would see that and usually just go to another vehicle, unfortunately, if they were trying to steal something.”

The locks for the catalytic converters cost between $100-$300.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.