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It’s one of America’s most instantly recognizable cars, the hot dog-shaped Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. However, even the mystery meat machine and its joyful disposition can fall victim to some bad people. That’s right; someone helped themselves to the Wienermobile’s catalytic converter in yet another example of one of the most popular automotive thefts. So, how did a cat-stealing carnivore make off with part of the iconic vehicle in Las Vegas?

What happened to the Wienermobile?

During the Wienermobile’s visit to Las Vegas, Nevada, a gastronomic Grinch cut the catalytic converter out of the vehicle’s exhaust system. According to Fox 5 Vegas, the theft occurred overnight at the Sonesta Suites hotel. The driver, or hotdogger as Oscar Mayer labels them, discovered the heinous heist the following day.   

A Wienermobile shows off its hot dog-inspired shape after a catalytic converter theft.
A Wienermobile | Bill Uhrich, MediaNews Group, Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Catalytic converter thefts are extremely common. Thieves will typically target ‘cats’ by climbing underneath a vehicle and cutting the component out of the exhaust system. When owners start their car next, it will sound as though a portion of its exhaust has fallen off or there is a large hole in it. That raucous noise is due to a missing connection where the catalytic converter resides, typically between a mid-pipe section and a muffler.

Unfortunately, not even the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is safe from the act. What a load of B-O-L-O-G-N-A.     

How much is a stolen catalytic converter worth?

A stolen catalytic converter could fetch as much as $1,500 per unit or more, according to AutoList. Moreover, thieves can access the part so quickly that they can steal a cat in as little as two minutes.  

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), catalytic converter theft increased by over 1,000% from 2018 to 2020. Moreover, thieves target the component because of the rare precious metals embedded within it. For instance, cats contain rhodium and palladium, two extremely valuable substances. 

Moreover, Edmunds reports that palladium prices rose exponentially from the end of 2020 to the spring of 2021. Specifically, an ounce of the rare metal rose from $2,300 in December 2020 to around $29,000 per ounce in April 2021. Sadly, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile fell victim to this market, too.  

How many Wienermobiles are there? 

There are six Wienermobiles currently cruising American roads. The hotdoggers behind the wheel tour the country and promote the brand, sometimes attending events and handing out hot dogs. 

Fortunately, catalytic converter theft isn’t terminal for cars. In the case of the beloved hot dog-shaped vehicle, Jalopnik says a Las Vegas-based Penske shop repaired the Oscar Mayer vehicle and got it back on the road for its tour. 

Has the Wienermobile ever been in an accident?

In addition to the recent catalytic converter theft, one of the Wienermobiles was involved in an accident in 2009 when it drove into a home in Racine, Wisconsin. The hot dog hot rod wedged itself under the deck of the house, but no one sustained any injuries.

An Oscar Mayer Wienermobile shows off its hot dog shape and bun base while on tour.
A Wienermobile | Bill Uhrich, MediaNews Group, Reading Eagle via Getty Images

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The hotdogger accidentally housed the vehicle when she made an error in a turnaround on a dead-end street. She reportedly put the hot dog in drive instead of reverse. As a result, the V8-powered machine drove right into the Wisconsin home.