Increase in Catalytic Converter Thefts

Ofc. John O'Brien, PIO

Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 3:22 p.m.

Update 2/22/21: SPD officers arrest a suspect for stealing a catalytic converter just hours after the theft was completed. The investigation into the other thefts involving catalytic converters is still ongoing.

Original Release 2/18/21:

The Spokane Police Department would like the community to be aware of an increase of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles in the city.

Spokane is experiencing a growth in catalytic converter thefts from vehicles. Thieves target catalytic converters because they contain precious metals, like platinum, palladium or rhodium that are valuable to metal dealers. Thieves typically use a saw or wrench to remove it, depending on whether the catalytic converter is bolted or welded in.

The recent spike in these thefts is due to rapidly rising prices of the precious metals contained in the converters.


Consider these tips to help protect your car from catalytic converter theft:

  • When possible, park in well-lit areas, close to building entrances and in fenced enclosures.
  • If you have a garage at your house, park your car inside and keep the garage door shut.
  • Have the catalytic converter welded (by a certified person/business) to your car's frame, which may make it harder to steal.
  • Consider engraving your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter — this may help alert a scrap dealer that it was stolen and make it easier to identify the owner.
  • Calibrate your car's alarm to set off when it detects vibration.

If you, a private vehicle owner, fleet manager or car dealership, have become a victim of catalytic converter theft please report the incident to Crime Check at (509) 456-2233. We would also like anyone that is contacted by persons buying (not from an auto parts store) or selling catalytic converters to call Crime Check to report that as well.



Contact Police

For in progress crimes and emergencies call 911

To report a non-emergent crime contact:

To provide crime activity or suspect information that doesn't require immediate action contact:

For general police email contact:

For nuisance reports, including code violations (i.e. illegal camping, substantial litter in yards or alleys, graffiti, land use violations), parking complaints, and road condition issues contact:

Media Relations Contact

Julie Humphreys