geedo
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Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:12 am

Here in PDX, we're seeing a big increase in the theft of catylitic converters from vehicles and bold thefts of large amounts of copper in various forms. Of course, its the meth head tweakers and dirt poor people that are to blame, but I wondered if anyone knew of any successes in fighting the problem in your area. I keep coming up with the same idea. Why can't they pay some reservest deputy, or or other entry level criminal justice type to pull some time at these recycling yards that are paying cash money to people that bring these metals in? Doesn't it raise any suspicion at these places when someone with a thirty year old, barely running pickup truck pulls in with several hundred feet of copper wire? Or how about five catylitic converters with obviously fresh cut pipes on each end? Can't they take these people aside and ask the obvious? "Where abouts did you come up with hundreds of pounds of usable material that you are willing to accept scrap valur for?" Or: "Why are all these converters cut off when most have bolt style flanges?" Or: "Why are your hands shaking so badly and how come your pupils are so dialted?"
Sure is funny how answers are so simple, yet solutions are impossible to achieve.
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lobster
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:20 am

There is a pretty big problem in the MSP area. Within the last 6 months or so there have been a few construction sights hit with people steeling copper, sometimes taking it right out of the building after it's been installed. There are also a few parking lots that got somewhat notorious for having catalytic converters stolen, as well as off dealerships. I haven't seen anything in the news that says they caught any of these douche bags, so I assume it's still happening.
 
seb146
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:21 am



Quoting GEEDO (Thread starter):
Sure is funny how answers are so simple, yet solutions are impossible to achieve

I think it comes down to one of two things:

1. Greed. The metal merchants can melt down the metal and pass it on for $$$.

2. Fear. Ever delt with a meth head?

I have often wondered the same thing: Why don't these metal buyers call the cops? Why don't pawn shop owners call cops? I have been hearing about metal theft in the PDX area for about two years. Authorities around here don't seem to want to get involved with fighting any crime. MAX is another point for that...
Life in the wall is a drag.
 
lgbga
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 5:34 am



Quoting GEEDO (Thread starter):
its the meth head tweakers and dirt poor people that are to blame

Here it's not just druggies and dirt poor people. If you're willing to steal you can make a pretty good living stealing cat converters. At lot of them go for $100. It's the platinum inside that's so valuable. Someone here in our small town recently had theirs stolen while they ran into the grocery store during the day. They were driving a Ford Explorer. We don't have a lot of petty crime but this kind of stuff is on the rise. We have a automotive repair shop with some abandoned vehicles parked out back. My husband went to check on one of them and someone had smashed the back window out to get to the jack, jacked it up and stole all the wheels. Plus they stole a trailer load of metal supports for some shelving. Like I say we haven't had this kind of stuff going on and we haven't had to be so cautious. But now people will steel anything metal they can make a buck on.

Quoting GEEDO (Thread starter):
Why can't they pay some reservest deputy, or or other entry level criminal justice type to pull some time at these recycling yards that are paying cash money to people that bring these metals in?

Sounds like a good idea to me. My husband went the other day to drop off some stuff after cleaning out our shop and he said there was a meth looking woman there with a piece of copper she got like 20 bucks for.
This just shows how the prices have changed. We used to give our stuff away just so we didn't have to haul it off. It wasn't worth our while but now, we definitely take it.
 
Alessandro
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:48 am

Here they raid recycling stations, old led batteries are also worth money.
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signol
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:51 am

Johannesburg has a problem of cable theft from the suburban rail network. Yes, the high-voltage lines used to power trains. How they are removed without electrocuting the thieves is beyond me.

signol
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airfoilsguy
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:12 am

A number of cars in my company's parking lot have had their converters stolen. I had IS configure a window on my computer so I can keep an eye on the parking lot with the video camera. I hope the thieves come back so I can call a few supervisors with pipes on the radio to deal with the crack heads.
It's not a near miss it's a near hit!!
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:22 am

We are having this problem around DFW, too. But, if the metal recyclers will stop giving small sums of cash for the metal (example, recycled copper goes for about $3US per pound, the recyclers sre giving $1 per pound to the guyd who "just bring in recycled metal"), and questioned where these guys got it, the problems would stop.
 
airfoilsguy
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:14 am

A few years ago some genius form my company tried to sell 100 pounds of waspaloy to a local scrap yard. The scrap yard didn't even know what it was until he looked it up. Well he called us, the only company within 100 miles that actually uses waspaloy, and we called the cops. He was fired and arrested the next day.
It's not a near miss it's a near hit!!
 
SBBRTech
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:15 pm

Here we got a lot of that copper theft crap. Most are taken from power and communication lines.
The problem is the little action taken against the junkyard owners that buy the stuff from the thieves...they make big bucks from it and the (eventual) jail time they get is ridiculous.
"I'm beginning to get the hang of this flying business" - C3PO
 
RJdxer
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:37 pm



Quoting Signol (Reply 5):
How they are removed without electrocuting the thieves is beyond me.

We had a similar event, over 100 yards of power line cut down and removed in the middle of the night yet somehow they managed to keep from killing themselves.

The other big theft going on here in Houston is the outdor condenser part of the airconditioner. When they spot an empty house they just go in to the backyard, take an ax to the copper line where it runs into the house. Snip the electrical connections, and take the whole thing right off the pad. A neighbor almost lost his but he had left his dog in the backyard and all he had to replace was the section of copper line they had chopped through before the dog woke up and came after them. The unit was on the side of the house but inside the privacy fence.

Quoting SBBRTech (Reply 9):
The problem is the little action taken against the junkyard owners that buy the stuff from the thieves...

Houston police have made a couple of arrests of junkyard owners that were taking illegal scap. Can't say they aren't working on the problem down here.
Warm winds blowing, heating blue skies, and a road that goes forever. I'm going to Texas!
 
ORFflyer
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:45 pm

I haven't heard much about catalytic converter thefts, but copper is being stolen left and right around here. Apparently, there is a bunch of copper in cell phone towers - there has been a rash of that lately.
 
CaptOveur
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:03 pm

We are in the middle of a huge wave of this at work. We have had 3 converters walk off this week. Apparently it is hard to see people with a sawzall under a pickup truck. Lately, the guys with ridiculous lifts on their pickups have been easy pickings. It is a lot less obvious to just walk under a pickup truck than to jack up a car.

Quoting GEEDO (Thread starter):
Of course, its the meth head tweakers and dirt poor people that are to blame

Wrong. Our last big copper bust were 3 plumbers and an electrician working for the university doing dumpster diving after hours for extra cash. These guys all had close to 20 years in with the university and now they might end up facing felony theft charges. These guys all drove nice pickups, had great pay, and better benefits and were probably the last people anyone would suspect of being criminals.

The slightly smaller copper bust before that were 2 union master electricians working for a contractor. Yet again, they were stealing just for extra money. They went from skilled tradesman to bubba's new boyfriend in the blink of an eye.

Disposing of scrap that is not theirs is one of those crimes that doesn't even look like a crime to many of the people doing it. This is how so many otherwise good citizens are talking themselves into stealing copper. A lot of what is getting stolen may already be on the way to be scrapped. However, it still has quite a bit of value- thus it is stealing.

The converters are another matter. I have a feeling when our current batch of converter thieves gets caught there won't be a full set of teeth between them.

Some cities even have piles of copper loaded with a GPS tracker to try and catch the copper thieves.

I have a feeling the scrap yards don't really care where the material comes from and thus probably do not ask many questions.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
ORFflyer
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:24 pm



Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 12):
A lot of what is getting stolen may already be on the way to be scrapped. However, it still has quite a bit of value- thus it is stealing.

 checkmark 

Right now, it's selling for $2.01/lb standard, and $2.74/lb for EC. (Extra clean - no fittings, not insulation, etc.)
 
Dougloid
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:14 pm



Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 12):
I have a feeling the scrap yards don't really care where the material comes from and thus probably do not ask many questions.

It goes beyond that. I worked for a junkman back in the early seventies mostly going out and hauling cars, gutting them and hauling them to the squasher.

Artie bought a lot of copper metal from thieves but he had what he called an "educated" scale that understated the weight by about 40 per cent. He was ripping off the thieves on the theory that they couldn't complain too much. Then he'd burn it to disguise its origin. A lot of it was telegraph wire stolen from the railroads, power cable taken from construction jobs, copper pipe and the like.

Artie also would go around buying dead car radiators and when he had a truckload we'd take them to Avenel and sell them at Berson's. He had a big kettle out behind the place for melting lead (battery terminals) and he'd pour that into every radiator to make them weigh more. He'd also take the garden hose and fill the crankcase and gas tank of every car I hauled to the squasher with water. A few scoops of sand would finish the job.

about the only straight thing he ever did was when we had a load of starters and generators and stuff to sell. We'd go to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and we'd get paid by the piece.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:35 pm

I've not heard of Cats being stolen here in the UK, but the theft of copper, tin, lead and just about any other material is a major problem. It's gotten to the stage where organised gangs are stripping churches of their flashing and copper roofs, and that replacement rails are being cut up and stolen from railway lines during the night.

There is an interesting old story though from the naval dockyards down in Plymouth; the Navy had stripped out masses of copper wire years ago when it was pretty much worthless and had just dumped it overboard into the estuary where it sat on the mud at low tide. Years down the line as the price of copper rose some enterprising fellows decided to gradually reclaim it at low water and sell the metal for scrap - they made a good living out of it, until the Navy got wind and tried to claim it back. In short, it went to court and the salvers were told they had done nothing wrong and the Navy was fined for dumping waste into the river.


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TSS
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:00 pm

Now why couldn't some enterprising meth-head have stolen the clogged-up catalytic converter out from under the Buick I had? I could still be driving that car today!  Wink
Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
 
airfoilsguy
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:25 pm

If its not bolted down someone will steel it


http://youtube.com/watch?v=vXzPJRelpSc
It's not a near miss it's a near hit!!
 
jcs17
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:56 pm



Quoting Signol (Reply 5):
Johannesburg has a problem of cable theft from the suburban rail network. Yes, the high-voltage lines used to power trains. How they are removed without electrocuting the thieves is beyond me.

Johannesburg has a problem of theft with anything that is not bolted or securely locked down.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 5:14 pm

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 15):
I've not heard of Cats being stolen here in the UK, but the theft of copper, tin, lead and just about any other material is a major problem. It's gotten to the stage where organised gangs are stripping churches of their flashing and copper roofs, and that replacement rails are being cut up and stolen from railway lines during the night.

Also the cast iron manhole covers in the streets.
Not so long ago a manager of the German railway company got jailed for illegally flogging off 10 or so km of disused railway track to a scrap dealer. The scrap dealer came with a work crew and machinery, the workers themselves thought everything was legal, so nobody suspected anything until there was an inquiry in the railway company's head offices after somebody noticed that the track had disappeared.

Jan

[Edited 2008-02-08 09:15:13]
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SBBRTech
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 5:21 pm



Quoting RJdxer (Reply 10):
Houston police have made a couple of arrests of junkyard owners that were taking illegal scap. Can't say they aren't working on the problem down here.

IMO this is the most effective short-term solution. Cripple the buyers and that market will no longer be as attractive....unfortunately thieves will find another "stuff" to keep them busy.

I almost feel sorry for the companies every time I see their technicians setting up new cables around f*cked up neighbourhoods...
"I'm beginning to get the hang of this flying business" - C3PO
 
N1120A
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 5:36 pm



Quoting Seb146 (Reply 2):

2. Fear. Ever delt with a meth head?

Unless they are armed, most of them are nothing my left fist can't handle.

Quoting Seb146 (Reply 2):

1. Greed. The metal merchants can melt down the metal and pass it on for $$$.

Now that is a big thing. I wonder if people are hording pennies again, given that they have more than a penny worth of metal in them.

Quoting Signol (Reply 5):
Yes, the high-voltage lines used to power trains. How they are removed without electrocuting the thieves is beyond me.

Switch them to DC and see what happens  Wink
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
57AZ
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:33 pm



Quoting N1120A (Reply 21):
Switch them to DC and see what happens

That type of theft is probably being done by someone who has a degree of technical knowledge, so simply switching to DC won't stop them if they know how the thing is wired. I work for an electric street railway-if you have the knowledge, it is possible to swipe wire from a DC powered line-not easy, but possible.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
IFlyTWA
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:14 am

El Segundo, which is right next to LAX, is having a big problem with Catalytic Converter and 3rd row seat thefts. The city has offered to etch the converters and seats with the vehicle's license plate number for free. I don't see how this can help much if they are being melted down.

[Edited 2008-02-09 21:14:51]
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CaptOveur
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:58 am



Quoting IFlyTWA (Reply 23):
3rd row seat thefts.

This is a new one to me. What is valuable about a third row seat?
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
N1120A
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:02 am



Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 24):

This is a new one to me. What is valuable about a third row seat?

Not uncommon at all, as it significantly increases the resale price of the vehicle.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Dougloid
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:19 pm



Quoting 57AZ (Reply 22):
That type of theft is probably being done by someone who has a degree of technical knowledge, so simply switching to DC won't stop them if they know how the thing is wired. I work for an electric street railway-if you have the knowledge, it is possible to swipe wire from a DC powered line-not easy, but possible.

Two local bozos in Davenport tried this stunt in an unoccupied building and the guy with the bolt cutters became a crispy critter.

I kinda like that instant criminal justice sort of thing.
If you believe in coincidence, you haven't looked close enough-Joe Leaphorn
 
CV990A
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:32 pm

I just saw an article about this in the Washington Post- apparently there is a growing problem of Catalyic Converter theft from the Metro parking lots. Apparently the lots don't have security cameras, so they aren't holding out much hope of finding the thieves.
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srbmod
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:59 pm



Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 17):
If its not bolted down someone will steel it



Quoting JCS17 (Reply 18):
Johannesburg has a problem of theft with anything that is not bolted or securely locked down.

In some areas, even if it is bolted down, folks will steal it.

The copper theft problem is definitely widespread and commonly known about; the cat converter is one that's new to me. it's definitely not the tweakers and the usual thieves doing this. With slowdowns in the housing market leaving some tradesmen short on work, they've had to supplement their incomes by theft and dumpster diving. Who's going to know where the best spots to "acquire" these materials? Someone who is in a job related to the construction industry.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 21):
I wonder if people are hording pennies again, given that they have more than a penny worth of metal in them.

Folks probably are, despite the Federal regs making the melting of pennies and nickels (and the exportation of said coinage for such a reason) illegal.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/2006-12-14-melting-ban-usat_x.htm
http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/inde...sh=yes&action=press_release&ID=724

I wouldn't be surprised if silver becomes the next big theft item.
 
tb727
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:35 pm



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 26):
Two local bozos in Davenport tried this stunt in an unoccupied building and the guy with the bolt cutters became a crispy critter.

I kinda like that instant criminal justice sort of thing.

This happens a lot in Detroit. There a ton of abandoned buildings here if you have never been here. It's a pretty sad sight, this place used to be booming 50 years ago, now it's almost a ghost town. Anyways, a lot of these places may still have power to them and guys stealing wire get toasted on a regular basis. There was also a rash of street light poles vanishing. Yes, they were actually cutting down 25-30 foot poles in the middle of streets and highways and not getting caught. Oh yeah, there are hardly any cops here anymore either thanks to the awesome Mayor of Detroit, the honorable, King Kwame Kilpatrick. I still don't know how a scrap yard guy can take sections of street light poles from non-city workers and not suspect anything, I guess they don't care, they are getting the scrap money too.
Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
 
Springbok747
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RE: Catylitic Converter/Metal Theft In Your City

Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:28 pm

We don't have a problem with metal theft, but with idiots smashing glass. Its really bad near the beachside suburbs. Bus shelters, store windows, parked cars etc. They just smash the glass...nothing is stolen, everything is vandalized and destroyed. I've seen so many bus shelters with glass smashed to bits. The idiots who do this should be shot. And I wonder why they're not caught...i'm sure they make a hell of a lot of noise when doing that...but somehow every few days, I see the city maintenance guys replacing glass. The problem has become so serious that many insurance companies refuse to insure cars in those suburbs, especially if the cars aren't parked in a garage or in a driveway.
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