Police in both the villages of Larchmont and Mamaroneck are investigating a series of catalytic converter thefts from parked vehicles.
On January 4, one of the devices was stolen from a 2003 Honda Odyssey parked along Palmer Avenue near the De Ciccio’s Food Market. A week later on January 11, catalytic converters where stolen from a group of vehicles on Center Ave in Mamaroneck. Police in New Rochelle report at least one recent theft as well.
“Cats”, as they are sometimes called, are a required part of the exhaust systems containing small amounts of precious metals such as titanium, platinum or rhodium. The devices initiate chemical reactions to scrub dangerous pollutants from vehicle exhaust.
The cylinders on the underside of your vehicle may be homely, but they are valuable. As scrap metal, catalytic converters are worth sometimes hundreds of dollars apiece; intact they can be worth close to $2000, sometimes as much as the vehicle they’re attached to.
The removal or malfunction of a catalytic converter will usually result in a “check engine” light being activated on the dashboard. Vehicles will run without the converter but they will not pass inspection and could result in a fine to the driver if the vehicle is caught operating without one. It is illegal for anyone but a licensed mechanic initiating a repair to tamper with or remove the devices.
Police sources theorize the stolen “cats” were resold intact on the black market. In past years thieves have targeted car dealership parking lots in the area but security measures have apparently driven the criminals to vehicles parked overnight on the street.
Debra Quintana has been reporting for The Loop for several years. After living in Larchmont for 20 years she and her husband moved to Mamaroneck 3 years ago. Debra was a television news reporter in Texas, Florida, Colorado before moving to New York where she worked at WPIX-TV and WCBS-TV. She currently serves as the manager of The Golden Shoestring in Larchmont.