Friday, April 13, 2007

The Element is Fixed

Thanks, GEICO. That little green lizard means business. See the damage below.

More information on catalytic converter theft.

Catalytic converters may seem like an odd thing to steal, but law enforcement agencies say they are being stolen at a high rate across the country. Cindy Burdette, crime prevention specialist with Sacramento County Sheriff's office, said Toyotas provide the biggest target because their catalytic converters can be removed easily and quickly. They are attached by only two bolts.

For criminals in the know, converters are as good as gold. Actually, better.

Catalytic converters contain tiny amounts of three precious metals - platinum, palladium and rhodium - that have seen their commodity rates skyrocket in the past two years. According to online commodities Web site, the price of rhodium has shot up in the past five years from $380 to $6,000 per ounce. It closed this week at $6,075. Palladium rose from about $200 per ounce two years ago to $360 in April 2006. It has remained steady at the higher price for the past year, and closed this week at $352. Between April 2005 and November 2006, the price of platinum rose by more than 60 percent, from $865 per ounce to $1,355. This week's close was $1,264.

John Shegerian, chairman of Fresno-based Electronic Recyclers, said the building boom in China and India is creating an insatiable appetite for everything from precious metals to plastics. That's driving up commodity prices.

"All of those products that come out of our waste stream are reusable," Shegerian said.


Ange! said...

Hey, I live on the East Coast (Washington, DC to be precise) and stumbled upon your blog accidentally. I'm an avid mountain biker and there've been reports over the last few months of people's converters being stolen (cut off) cars, with two Elements recently targeted. For some unknown reason, thieves have taken a liking to taking Element converters.

I only started googling this since I own an Element (that I love) and wanted some idea how frequent this is. I bought the thing thinking nobody'd want to steal it (which might be true?) but now thieves are stealing stuff OFF it. Gah!

That really sucks, though. I'm sorry it happened to you.

Steve-O said...

Thanks for the kind words. Unfortunately, I'm told thieves target Elements because the converters are easier to access because of the underbody clearance. Maybe I need to see if there is some kind of guard to put on it.