As of March 31 and since Jan. 1, there have been seven reports of catalytic converters being stolen from vehicles within the city limits of Hood River, said Chief of Police Neal Holste in a press release. In this week’s press log, there are an additional three thefts.

“Catalytic converters are designed to act as a line of defense against harmful exhaust system emissions by turning pollutants into harmless gas,” said the press release. “Thieves target catalytic converters because they contain precious metals, like platinum, palladium or rhodium, that are valuable to metal dealers.

“When the catalytic converter has been removed, your vehicle will make a loud roaring sound that will get louder as you push the gas pedal,” continued the press release.

On average, it can cost up to $2,000 to replace a catalytic converter — and it is illegal to drive a vehicle without one.

New Oregon Senate Bill 803 has been proposed to curb the rise in catalytic converter thefts, said the press release. The bill would prohibit scrap metal businesses from buying or receiving catalytic converters except from commercial sellers.

The City of Hood River Police Department has the following tips for preventing catalytic converter theft:

  • When possible, park in a well lit areas and close to building entrances
  • Park your vehicle in a garage if possible
  • Have the catalytic converter welded to your vehicle’s frame, which may make it harder to steal
  • Consider engraving your vehicle information number (VIN) on the catalytic converter to alert a scrap dealer that it has been stolen; this will also help identify the owner
  • Calibrate your car’s alarm to set off when it detects vibration
  • Video surveillance is helpful