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Catalytic converter thefts increase across campus as numbers nationwide correlate

As of Sept. 10, a total of 18 catalytic converter thefts have been reported from on campus areas as catalytic converter thefts become a national issue.

Tricia Knoles, police sergeant with the Kent State University Police Department, said the current thefts are a part of a national trend due to the worth of catalytic converters.

“There’s a lot of money in scrapping the catalytic converters because of the material that is made up,” Knoles said. “That’s what makes it tempting for those who know how to get them cut off and, you know, it only takes a minute or less.”

A catalytic converter is a part underneath the car and found in the middle of the exhaust system, and they contain a number of precious metals inside of them. The converter can easily be removed from the car, said Mike Lewis, administrative lieutenant with the Kent Police Department.

“They can easily cut [the converter] off using like a sawzall,” Lewis said. “They saw this off and they collect as many as they can and take them to scrapyards.”

After giving the converters to a scrapyard, they will be melted down and the individual, who stole the converter, will receive a large amount of cash compensation, Lewis said.

The scrapyards are aware of the stolen converters and that those actions are illegal. However, the scrapyards may be less inclined to report thefts as they are also making money off the thefts, Lewis said.

“Scrapyards are supposed to mentor this sort of thing,” Lewis said. “They know it’s illegal, but if everybody’s making money off it, they may not be as likely to turn each other in.”

Lewis said primary areas for individuals to steal converters would be parking lots, apartments and the university’s campus.

“People would often do this in parking lots, you know, because it’s a target rich environment,” Lewis said.

Knoles said there is no area in particular on campus where the most thefts have occurred, but they are occurring in varying campus locations and off campus apartment complexes.

There have been various types of cars vulnerable to their converters being stolen, Knoles said.

“Our number one type of vehicle that has seemed that they’re cutting them off are Honda Accords and Honda CR-Vs,” she said. “Although they have had some Hyundais, Ford Escape … two of those, and Jeep Grand Cherokee and one Mazda Tribute”

One measure used to prevent converter theft is purchasing a lock or a cover from retailers like Amazon, Knoles said.

“That helps to deter that theft because typically [thieves] are looking for easy access, something quick that they can saw off and take,” she said.

Another measure which can be used to prevent theft is parking in a safe and secure area, Lewis said.

“Make sure the area that you’re parking in is well-lit. It’s a good idea to have surveillance cameras around,” Lewis said. “Anybody who has access to a garage obviously should use it.”

There are over 700 surveillance cameras situated in campus areas, including those where individuals may park their vehicles, Knoles said.

She said another thing individuals can do to prevent further theft is to report anyone who seems suspicious in a parking lot during the dusk and evening hours.

“If they see somebody that is suspicious or anytime they see somebody that is suspicious in a parking lot, do not hesitate to call,” Knoles said.

Adriana Gasiewski is a staff reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Adriana Gasiewski, Staff Reporter
Adriana is a sophomore majoring in journalism with minors in Italian and creative writing. Before becoming a staff reporter, she was a general assignment reporter last semester. She enjoys writing about current events and issues that Kent students face. Adriana is a second-year member of Her Campus, where she serves as Philanthropy and Community Events Coordinator, and she is a member of the editorial team. Contact her at [email protected].

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