$100,000 In Catalytic Converter Theft Spree Earns 1 Guy Fugitive Status

Stealing isn’t cool. But, if you are going to steal, at least do like Nicolas Cage and steal the Constitution or some crown jewels or something cool. Stealing car parts is uncool and boring. Stealing boring car parts? That is utterly ridiculous. Well, that’s exactly what two fellas in Pennsylvania have been up to. Over a six-month period, two guys stole over $100,000 in catalytic converters

The Drive reports that the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office has accused two men of scooping catalytic converters off box trucks, SUVs, and pickups. So many questions. Why steal cats? Why these vehicles? Who? What? When? Where? And, again, why?

Catalytic converters can fetch a decent price and they are plentiful

Seeing as how almost every vehicle has to have them to adhere to emissions regulations, they are everywhere. And by targeting taller vehicles, they could slide under the trucks and SUVs and cut out the catalytic converters without having to jack them up off the ground. The suspects, 31-year-old Zachery Martin, and 39-year-old Jonathan Evans are believed to have sold over $100,000 to a single source in Harrisburg, PA. 

People love to steal Catalytic converters
CATALYTIC CONVERTER | Reuter Raymond/Sygma via Getty Images

This may seem like a lot for a boring car part, but there is an increasingly valuable material in cats called Palladium. This metal is useful in containing engine emissions, which is the catalytic converters’ main job. The price has skyrocketed as the demand for it has increased, particularly in China.

New regulations in China require cars to have 30 percent more Palladium in them according to The Drive. The demand for the stuff was already decently high as emissions standards increase globally, but China’s demand tips the scales in a big way. To make matters worse, or better, depending on which side of the Palladium market you find yourself on, the supply of Palladium is projected to be 10 percent under what is needed. Simple economics says that that will result in a supply and demand curve in favor of whoever has the metal. 

What does Palladium go for these days?

The price of Palladium is on the rise, which is what explains the temptation to steal such a seemingly worthless car part. Four years ago, Palladium was going for $500 an ounce. These days an ounce will run you somewhere around $2500. Bitcoin who? I’m trying to get this Palladium. 

What is a catalytic converter?

RELATED: Why Are Thieves Stealing Catalytic Converters In My Town?

Many car enthusiasts can be found cursing their catalytic converters for choking their cars’ exhaust and limiting performance and even hurting the longevity of their car. But what does a cat do? They are a canister that sits in the middle of your exhaust system that filters out harmful chemicals and pollutants like carbon monoxide from your exhaust. They are required for any new car to meet EPA standards. 

How many catalytic converters do you have to steal to get 100 grand? 

Martin and Evans got caught stealing some cats, linking the two, to over 200 cases of catalytic converter thefts in the area. A pursuit ensued ending in the capture of Martin while his partner in crime, Evans got away. Martin has posted $65,000 in bail. Meanwhile, Evans is still at large and considered a fugitive. The authorities are asking anyone with information to report it.