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High Platinum Prices Spur Catalytic Converter Theft

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With platinum selling at a world spot price of $1672/oz, catalytic converters--which each contain about two grams of platinum--are the current "must-have" item for thieves.

They can be cut from a vehicle's exhaust system in under a minute with a battery-powered reciprocating saw, and each one can be sold for about 100 bucks, though the replacement cost for the car owner is closer to $1,000.

Adding to the appeal of cat theft is the fact that the devices, unlike many other parts, are not stamped with serial numbers, making them near-impossible to trace.

A quick Google News search for "catalytic converter theft" turned up all this just on the first page of results:

ST. LOUIS: Car owners face new threat as thieves target catalytic converters

CHICAGO: Catalytic converter thefts on the rise

DETROIT: Catalytic Converter Thefts Hit Clinton Twp.

MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Twin Cities police arrest 3 for catalytic converter thefts

TRACY, CA: Thieves take catalytic converters

TINLEY PARK, IL: Catalytic Converters Stolen from Cars by Oak Park Avenue Metra Station

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND: Thieves have left several minibuses out of action - after stealing their catalytic converters.

Being a little short on cash til payday, I'm headed out now to saw the catalytic converter off a gorgeous, brand-new Range Rover my neighbor just bought. It's a really nice car. I'm sure he's got good insurance.

Bonus factoid:
Approximately 8 tons of raw ore must be mined to produce one ounce of platinum.
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