Catalytic converter thieves are revving up their operations within the Big Apple — citywide, the crime has accelerated by 269% this 12 months — and on Staten Island, by a meteoric 670%, NYPD knowledge present.
Across the 5 boroughs, 5,548 catalytic converters have been ripped off by means of Aug. 14, in comparison with the identical interval final 12 months, when 1,505 have been reported stolen, in accordance with the stats.
On Staten Island, catalytic converter thefts rose to 362, up from simply 47 the 12 months earlier than, for a 670% improve — the largest surge within the 5 boroughs.
“It’s actually dangerous. I’m one store and in the previous couple of months I’ve achieved [repaired] 15 vehicles. Ninety-five p.c are Honda Accords,” mentioned Nick Dhouib, manager of Ten Point Auto Repair in New Dorp for the final 30 years. “The individuals complain concerning the noise,” he mentioned.
One Staten Island auto restore mechanic pointed the finger on the Garden State.
“I hear they’re coming from New Jersey. They soar on the bridge [Goethals or Outerbridge Crossing], take what they will and return to Jersey,” mentioned the store proprietor, who requested anonymity.
Queens leads the 5 boroughs with 2,092 converter thefts in 2022, in comparison with 574 in the identical interval final 12 months — a hefty 264% hike.
In Brooklyn “cat” thefts hit 1,534, up from 403 in 2021, a 281 % spike; The Bronx noticed 976, up from 286, for a 241% leap; Manhattan had 584 such thefts to this point this 12 months, in comparison with 195 in 2021 for a 199% rise.
A catalytic converter, which comprises rhodium, palladium and platinum, is a chunk of the auto’s exhaust system that breaks down a number of the smog which might in any other case come out of the tailpipe.
Crooks can stand up to $300 for the standard catalytic converter and as much as $1,400 for the half from hybrid automobiles.
The uncommon metals contained in the half commerce for 4 and 5 figures, and thieves take the stolen convertors to scrapyards, or hawk them on the black market.
As of mid-Friday afternoon, platinum was going for $909 an oz., whereas palladium was valued at $2,177 an oz. and rhodium was fetching an off the charts $14,350 an oz., in accordance with moneymetals.com. Converters usually embody 3 to 7 grams of those treasured metals, specialists mentioned.
The victims are left with a roaring noise from the exhaust system — and a hefty restore invoice because the half can value hundreds to exchange.
Toyota Priuses are prime targets as a result of they’ve as much as three converters, relying on the mannequin 12 months, and since low-emission car components are sometimes in higher situation.
The ripoffs, most of that are thought of as petty larceny beneath New York legislation, proceed to soar as a result of copping catalytic converters is a non-violent, tough-to track-crime — and little punishment if caught.
The bail eligible offense signifies that, even when arrested, the thieves are again on the prowl very quickly.
“A petty theft within the eyes of our new progressive legal justice mannequin is meaningless. It’s a low-risk high-reward crime,” mentioned Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.
In Manhattan, Upper West Siders mentioned the bandits have lengthy focused their quiet blocks.
Former NYC ballerina Antonia Franceschi was being pushed by her son to JFK Airport in June when she heard a loud rumbling noise emanating from her 2005 Honda CRV.
She didn’t comprehend it on the time, however her “cat” had been boosted.
“I used to be so past pissed off,” Franceschi, 62, now a choreographer, advised The Post. “It was horrible. It was embarrassing. My son had parked the automotive at Riverside Drive and 94th Street. There’s no one round.”
Franceschi mentioned she purchased the automotive for $2,500 throughout COVID and it value $1,500 to restore.
The NYPD is making an attempt to place the brakes on the opportunistic thieves.
The division has launched an etching program that permits people to inscribe a code/quantity to a catalytic converter, after which hyperlink that code to a web site the place it may be tracked.
Giacalone has doubts about this system.
“They [thieves] don’t need to resell the half, simply what’s inside. I believe cracking down on the scrap yards that purchase them is the best way to go. Maybe some undercover sells after which hit them with a closure by means of nuisance abatement.”
Meanwhile, Franceschi provided her recommendation to thwart “cat” thieves: “You must park the automotive the place there’s a doorman or it’s busy. This is New York City. You must weave and bob. You must adapt. It [the city] retains you in your toes.”