Independence auto dealer says catalytic converters stolen from cars in lot

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Catalytic converter thefts continue to rise across the metro, specifically in Independence.

Police say the thefts are becoming a big problem and local dealerships are seeing the problem as well.

Selling a car can go all wrong if a catalytic converter is missing.

“It sounds like a monster truck,” Joana Britt, Employee at Stadium Auto Sales, said. “Now you’ve lost the sale. “They feel most immediately lied to because it’s like you could’ve told me this and I’m like I didn’t know that.”

Britt said there’s been numerous times someone has taken a catalytic converter from a car at the family-owned dealership.

“It’s an uphill battle,” Britt said. “I could lose the sell, which is commission. I got children, food.”

She said that one missing piece from a car can not only mess up her pockets, but the customers too.

“You’re looking at price,” said Britt. “Is it going to be the same. You know when something breaks and you fix it, it’s not always quite the same. The integrity of the car then is compromised in the customer’s mind at least.”

And her dad, Peter Catalano, said it can cost $1,200 to $2,00 for a replacement.

“Ford trucks seem to be our hardest because I think they have several,” Catalano said.

The market value for the crook doesn’t even add up to half of that.

“If they’re selling them on the black market or the secondary market, they get about $35 for them is my last understanding,” said Catalano.

Catalano said after having theft after theft, he took extra security measures.

“More Ring cameras, more alarms,” said Catalano. “We have a lot more lighting and I have night watchmen too. It ends up being cheaper to pay someone up front than it does to pay afterward.”

Because of that, he believes the random break-ins have calmed down.

Catalano said they also put vehicles that are more prone to be targeted at the front of the lot, so he can keep an eye on them.

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