LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The trend of stolen catalytic converters has continued in Las Vegas, prompting a local expert to share steps people can take to protect themselves from falling victim to thieves. 

“We turned on our car, and it sounded like an explosion,” Elizabeth Rose told 8 News Now. 

Rose described the moment a trip out to eat turned into an absolute nightmare. 

“My wife’s first thought,” Rose added. “Is our catalytic converter got stolen.”

The catalytic converter wasn’t just stolen — a man cut it off her car in the middle of a busy shopping center. 

“Brings over all his tools, crawls under the car,” Rose said, describing what was caught on surveillance video. “And within five minutes, he removed it.”

(KLAS)

Unfortunately, stories like this have been far too common across the valley. 

In 2021, 1,868 catalytic converter thefts were reported in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s jurisdiction. 

“Last year we had a lot of claims,” Victor Botnari of Universal Motorcars said. “With a lot of catalytic converter thefts.”

It has forced many to try different protection techniques, like spray painting or VIN number etching, to send a red flag to buyers. However, Botnari said this won’t necessarily stop thieves from taking them, as catalytic converters are appealing due to the valuable metals they are made of. 

“It doesn’t really help,” he explained. “Because they sell it for the materials inside.”

Instead, Botnari recommends buying a guard, clamp or shield to encase the part. 

“I think that’s going to be the only way to protect it,” he said. 

Rose told 8 News Now it’s also important to share stories like hers so others know how and when they can help. 

“People just aren’t aware that this is happening,” Rose concluded. 

Catalytic converter clamps, shields or guards can be purchased online for about $150 to $300 and can be installed by a mechanic or auto shop.