AUSTIN (KXAN) — Catalytic converter thefts are skyrocketing across the nation, and the problem is worse in Texas than in almost any other state besides California.
“Woke up and went to go start my truck and heard the loud boom,” said Joe Clonan, who said his Toyota Tundra had the part stolen.
“I am essentially without a car right now,” said Clonan, who now rides a motorcycle to work.
Clonan said his car’s catalytic converter was stolen in June, and since then he has been dealing with his insurance company and hasn’t been able to get a part.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau identified more than 52,000 thefts across the nation in 2021.
PGM of Texas recycles catalytic converters. Michael Horton, assistant operations manager, said he is well aware of the growing issue.
“They would come to our door and attempt to make a sale, and we would report it, but nothing would ever get done,” said Horton.
PGM said it is pushing for better laws to regulate the growing issue — not only for the companies that recycle the parts but also for the people who are stealing the parts.
When someone brings a converter into PGM, they have to have the title, registration of the vehicle and a valid driver’s license, and they take photos of the person dropping off the parts.
“We want more accountability in the industry for companies in the industry that aren’t doing their due diligence,” said Horton.
Former Austin police chief Art Acevedo has been working with the company to help find a way to stop the thefts.
“I am proud of the fact that PGM of Texas is actually engaging the legislature, they are engaging law enforcement, and I think with all the stakeholders at the table you are going to see some good things this session,” said Acevedo.
There are ways to deter thieves from targeting your car. A quick Google search will show you a number of devices that can cover or attach to the catalytic converter.
KXAN reached out to Cat Clamp, one of the companies that showed up on the search.
Cat Clamp said its device is easy to put on and will cost you about $200 to $400 depending on which product you go with.
It has seen an increase in people reaching out for its device in the last few years.
“What we hear from them sometimes sadly is a thief hit up their whole block or neighborhood, and thankfully their converter was safe, because it was protected,” said Kate Brueggemeier, GM of Cat Clamp.