Last week, four vehicles parked at a Germantown church were vandalized. But none of the windows were broken, the tires were untouched, and the license plates were still attached. Missing instead were the vehicles' catalytic converters, a piece of the exhaust system that contains platinum, which can easily be resold. Unfortunately for motorists, replacing them costs from $200 to $600.
The church isn't the only location that has been hit. Roughly 40 catalytic converter thefts have been reported this year, including a Rent-A-Center on Jackson last month, according to the Memphis Police Department (MPD).
There, thieves took the catalytic converters from two vans.
Another theft involved the catalytic converter on a pizza delivery man's vehicle, according to Evelyn Smith of Smitty's Auto Service on Highland. The delivery man had run inside to change his shirt. By the time he came back, his catalytic converter was gone.
"It shows you how quickly someone can take the part," Smith said.
Monique Martin, spokesperson for MPD, says the department is trying to work with salvage yards to curb the thefts. "There's no rhyme or reason to the parts being stolen," she said, "but the fact that it's a converter shows it's someone who knows what they're doing."