CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Chattanooga Police say thieves have targeted a Mitsubishi dealership twice in March to steal catalytic converters.
“People have been buying scrap metal for years. Some of these same recyclers buy used scrap metal and used catalytic converters” said Operations Manager at Maxi Auto Service Steven Stamey.
Stamey says recyclers have essentially created a black market for thieves.
“There’s certain laws in place.”
In Tennessee, some scrap yard laws include sellers proving a photo I.D. and a fingerprint.
Strict rules to protect the precious metals inside these converters like platinum and rhodium.
“Do you think they’re selling it to local recyclers or people out of state” asked News 12’s Winston Reed to Stamey.
“You know my opinion… I’m of the opinion that it’s both” said Stamey.
Mitsubishi Motors on MLK Blvd. has been hit twice in less than a week.
Thieves slid under more than 30 cars and did more than 60 thousand dollars in damages.
In Chattanooga, 197 converters have been stolen since January 1st.
“There needs to be a lot of accountability on the recyclers because right now with this huge influx of theft they’re going somewhere.”
Maxi Auto service says you can protect your vehicle and your catalytic converter, by parking in well lit areas and checking your vehicle on the regular. If you have a lifted vehicle, you need to be extra careful.