Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks are investigating the theft of Catalytic Converters stolen from parked vehicles in the area, the trooper dispatch reported on Friday.
Several reports of converter thefts were reported to troopers from callers who had parked their vehicles at a pullout near mile 32 of the Elliott Highway from September 6th through 10th.
The thefts of the auto part were suffered by hunters parking their vehicles at the pullout while taking part in the current hunting season.
Catalytic Converters contain copper and precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. These metals, when hot exhaust passes over them, undergo a chemical reaction, and convert the toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons into less harmful emissions.
Thieves target pickups and SUVs because the vehicles sit higher off the ground, making it easier to access the underside of the vehicle to cut or unbolt the converter. Thieves frequently target Toyota trucks and SUVs, which many times have two of these emission devices installed, and are more exposed than on other makes of vehicles.
While the thieves can get $50-$250 for the stolen part from metal recyclers, the costs of replacing the converters can cost the vehicle owner from $1,000 to $4,000.
Vehicle owners can have protection such as Cat Straps, CatClamp, or other deterrents installed on their exhaust system to discourage would-be thieves.
Troopers are asking anyone with information regarding the converter thefts to call them at the Fairbanks post at 451-5100.