INDIANAPOLIS — As the war in Ukraine continues, stiff sanctions against Russia are leading to price spikes on certain commodities. One such rise may be putting your car at risk of being targeted by catalytic converter thieves.
Russia is the world leader in producing palladium. The precious metal is a key component in the manufacturing of catalytic converters. All too often thieves target this sought-after car part because the parts can be sold for its precious metals. Crooks are able to get under a vehicle and saw off the converter.
The ongoing war in Ukraine is seeing palladium prices spike. It leaves car owners wondering if they will become the next victim in a crime of opportunity.
Evan Kahn woke up on Monday to find his converter gone. Sadly, the vehicle was a loaner car from the dealer because his car was being worked on. He is still working with the dealer on how to pay for the loss.
“Monday morning when I was on my way to work I turned it on, and I was like, ‘Dang, this thing is loud,’” said Kahn. “As soon as I started doing research on it, my jaw just dropped. I mean it happens. People take them like candy.”
Kahn had the loaner car parked on the second floor of a parking garage at his apartment complex in downtown Indy.
“The garage door to the facility has been broken since September,” said Kahn.
He believes thieves seized the opportunity to target vehicles inside.
“We already have a problem with people stealing catalytic converters, so maybe we should have been thinking about this sooner, let’s make it out of a less precious metals,” questioned Carol Roger, co-director of the Indiana business research center at Indiana University.
Even if the hostility in Ukraine ended tomorrow, Rogers says it will take time for supply chains in Russia to recover. The attack on Ukraine may also have some companies questioning where they get their materials from, or if there are alternative ways to create products.
“What do you do if you don’t trust someone? You stop getting your supplies from them,” said Rogers.”As much as any manufacturer hates a supply chain break, it also ends up being an opportunity for innovation to happen.”
There are ways to protect your catalytic converter. Car owners can etch their license plate into the converter, or have a cage installed to protect it from being cut out.