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Zero deterrence: stealing the converter in front of the shocked car owner - voila! vehicle


In broad daylight, in the parking lot of the train station in Hadera, the owner of the car surprised the thief of the catalytic converter, which did not prevent him from continuing his work

Recognizes the photo, packs the tools and disappears (Photo: Surfer Photos, Shelly Imnilov)

There is almost no phase in the story of Shelly Imnilov and the thief of the catalytic converters that she caught red-handed that cannot be dismissed.

This story begins last Thursday, when she returns to her car at the end of a work day.

The time is 17:30, daylight and she makes her way to the end of the parking lot which has long since become too narrow to accommodate all the cars and glides to the outskirts of the Hadera forest.

And while she presses the remote, and opens the doors when she is 2-3 meters away from the car, she spots a man coming out from under her car holding the catalytic converter from her hybrid Toyota Auris.

"I was shocked" she says in a conversation with Walla!

Car, "I didn't know what to say and what to do, I just took out the camera and started taking pictures of him."

And if anyone thinks the thief will be too excited - forget it.

According to her, he simply packed his tools and together with the converter that he had just disassembled from her vehicle, simply got into his car and disappeared.

Caught, but not giving up the expensive converter (photo: surfers' photos, Shelly Imnilov)

The shocked Shelley, still in the train parking lot, calls the police, a car that arrives at the scene receives the details from her, including the documentation of the theft and was asked to come to the police station in order to file a complaint.

She won't make it home with the car and it's being towed to the garage for maintenance.

The thief was caught and arrested.

But what she found out later, when she made a Facebook post about the case, is that she was just one more case out of dozens that happen at this train station, day in and day out, week in and week out.

"I heard about things like this, but only after I uploaded the post did I find out that it happened to so many other people."

A quick check reveals that the phenomenon is not unique to the Hadera train station, and occurs in many parking lots, sometimes near workplaces and not in the wee hours of the night, but in broad daylight without fear.

Not unique, but certainly present, additional evidence shows that other users also experienced the same theft method and in the exact same place.

In Sharon's car it happened a month and a half ago, in the same week to Bentsi, and last month Igor, Eden, Karin and Ludmila, Shushi joined the list, all of them returned to their car to find that someone had stolen their catalytic converter.

Add Shelley's case to them and we're talking about two thefts a week in just this short tracking period.

And these are only the testimonies that have reached us.

And when you know exactly when and where the converters are stolen and still no action is taken to stop the situation, what wonder the frustration grows.

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The catalytic converter, essential for reducing air pollution, is full of precious metals, accessible and easy to dismantle (Photo: Keinan Cohen)

Gold in the exhaust

So what is it about catalytic converters that make them such a hot commodity among thieves and accident-prone cars?

The catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system of modern cars.

This is a cylinder inside a kind of beehive containing rare metals such as palladium, rhodium and others, when these are heated to high temperatures, the gases emitted from the engine pass through them and they absorb a significant part of the toxic particles and prevent them from being emitted into the air.

These rare metals are not only used by the automotive industry in catalytic converters, they are also used in dentistry to produce fillings and up to the chip industry for various electronic products, from laptops, cell phones, tablets, screens and more.

The prices of these materials are around $5,000 per 100 grams, and are also expected to climb steadily as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, because Russia is one of the largest suppliers of palladium in the world.

These prices make them a golden opportunity for converter thieves allowing quick and easy profit.

And the mention of Shelly's car type was no accident, among convertible thieves, Toyota and Subaru cars are the most sought after due to the relatively high amount of palladium in them and mainly due to an accessible and very easy location for the thieves.

Gets into the car and drives off (photo: surfers' photos, Shelly Imnilov)

The damage to the customer starts at NIS 4,000-6,000 in the event that you install a replacement converter, used or refurbished, whose lifespan is shorter than that of an original converter.

And it can reach 12, 14 and 20 thousand shekels when it comes to an original Toyota Prius converter - one of the most wanted cars by thieves.

By the way, the thieves will often recognize if it is an original or a replacement converter and will sometimes give up the replacement converter in favor of a more attractive one that is worth the time or risk.

Protection devices exist on the market, these come in the form of a cable truss that wraps the converter, a metal "cage" that prevents its extraction or thick protection plates similar to those found in SUVs, which are usually offered at a cost of about NIS 1,000-2,000.

A determined thief with a chainsaw they won't deter, but then again, if it's someone just looking for a light hack with a chainsaw, they might forgo the investment.

Authorized Toyota garages now offer those interested a simpler and cheaper solution, a kind of cover for the screws that needs to be removed to disassemble the converter, which will require the thief to work more time to try to disassemble, which will encourage him to continue with another vehicle.

The price: 200 shekels.

A car loaded with stolen converters seized by the police (Photo: Israel Police)

Despite the increased activity of the police in this area of ​​theft of catalytic converters, the achievements are null in sixty compared to the actual number of thefts.

Both those who report and the owners of the affected cars do not bother to file a complaint due to the low chance of locating the thieves.

However, there is an additional price that we all pay when the high prices lead those who are affected by the scourge of theft to install less efficient converters or sometimes settle for a solution of simply welding a pipe instead of the converter - which results in extremely high pollutant emissions from the car.

In California, it was decided to declare a war of attrition on the phenomenon, where a legislative initiative was issued 4 months ago according to which buying or selling a catalytic converter other than its legal owner or an authorized dealer is a violation of the law.

The owners of the businesses where the work of dismantling the converters is done will be supervised and they will have to present documentation of how and from whom the converter was purchased, in the absence of registration - the part will be considered stolen.

Similar initiatives of marking converters and associating them with vehicles were proposed in the past, but did not materialize for various reasons.

Sawing of minutes and the loot by hand (Photo: Keinan Cohen)

Back to mine and the converter thief, two days ago, this is how she tells it shared by someone in a post of the Coastal District of the Israel Police.

The post describes the apprehension of a suspect in the theft of converters, a 40-year-old Or Akiva resident who was arrested after intelligence work and operational activity.

The thief, who fled from the police in his car, was arrested after a chase during which he also hit a police car and slightly injured a police officer.

Yesterday (Tuesday) the suspect was brought before a judge.

"I would like to praise the work of the police in my case," concludes Shelley, "they handled it with the utmost seriousness."

Will she return to leave the car in the station parking lot?

"After what happened to me, I will think twice about parking there again", will she have a choice, unfortunately the answer is probably no.

Will she and many others not fall victim to the unbearable ease of stealing the converters?

Here too the answer is negative.

  • vehicle

  • car news


  • theft

  • converter

  • Thief

  • Train Station

  • Hadera

Source: walla

All tech articles on 2023-03-16

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