Officers seeking to crackdown on Toyota catalytic converter thefts in Broward, Martin County

Broward and Martin County Sheriff’s issued a warning for Toyota drivers on Thursday saying that the Tundra and Tacoma are on the hotlist for having the most catalytic converters stolen in the United States.

Two Toyota service centers told Local 10′s Liane Morejon that they have Toyota Tundra’s and Tacoma’s in their shops waiting for replacement converters.

Officers in Martin County are warning owners of these trucks about what makes these cars vulnerable and attractive to thieves, and how to make it harder for them to steal.

According to deputies, five Tundra’s were hit recently in Martin County.

Goodyear Operations Manager Scott Atchisson said he sees about five stolen every six months.

Atchisson, who runs operations at the Goodyear on Pembroke Road in Hollywood for nearly 20 years told Local 10 News that thieves are targeting the precious metals on the converters.

“These thieves know which catalytic converters have more valuable or less valuable precious metals in them,” said Atchisson. “The cordless tools that are available now and they can cut it out in 10 minutes time.”

Catalytic converters use precious metals to convert gases from your car into something less harmful like CO2 and water.

According to Atchisson, those precious metals can be worth thousands of dollars.

“If it was a requirement from the state that any catalytic converters being turned in be registered with the Vin number to whoever’s gonna recycle them, that would end the problem immediately or cut 90% of it out,” he said.

Martin County Sheriff’s said Tundra’s are attractive to thieves because they have four catalytic converters which have a higher percentage of precious metal.

The truck itself has a high suspension which allows easier access to the converter.

“A four-wheel-drive, truck, or SUV, which is a little higher makes it a whole lot easier,” said Atchisson.

Freddy Matos, a mechanic and Toyota owner told Local 10 that thieves cut and stole two of his converters.

“Normally they tend to steal from the Toyotas,” said Matos.

Atchisson, suggested that people should purchase cages so that the built-in mechanic mount will block any theft from happening.

Experts are advising anyone that has a converter to park in well-lit areas and have their VIN number etched or painted on the converter which would make it traceable, and possibly unsellable.

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