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Danville, VA Police Department Media Releases

Posted on: December 3, 2020

12-03-2020 Catalytic converter theft awareness

catalytic thefts

The Danville Police Department has recognized a citywide pattern of catalytic converter theft from vehicle exhaust systems. Toyota Priuses and Honda’s are the most common vehicle type being targeted, although several other makes and models have been affected.  

Catalytic converters are designed to act as a line of defense against harmful exhaust system emissions by turning pollutants into harmless gasses. The reason is the value of the metals used in the manufacturing of the catalytic converters. The metals are expensive, and thieves sell the converters for several hundred dollars per piece, depending on the size of the converter and the current rate on the metals inside it. 

The resulting gap in your exhaust system also makes the car run poorly until it is fixed.

You notice a loud rumbling or roaring sound as soon as you turn on the engine if your catalytic converter is missing. This gets louder when you hit the gas. The exhaust is not working properly, so the vehicle also drives rougher than usual, often with a sense of sputtering as you change speed. Go to the back of the car and look underneath.  

The catalytic converter is a round canister that connects two pieces of piping in the exhaust. You will see a gaping space in the middle of your exhaust if the converter is missing, and you will likely see signs of the piping being cut away. 

Thieves look for easy targets when it comes to catalytic converter theft, and a few simple steps help make your car or SUV a less likely target. Always park in well-lit areas when possible. If you have a personal garage, keep your car in the garage with the door closed when the vehicle is not in use. Be aware of unusual sawing/wrenching noises coming from the street or someone lifting a car up on a jack. If you have a security system on your car, calibrate it so vibration sets it off. Also, consider engraving your VIN onto the catalytic converter to make it easier to identify should it get stolen.

There are products available that make theft more difficult (wiring, cages), however, these can cost several hundred dollars to purchase and install.  

The Danville Police Department is asking anyone with information about these thefts to please contact us at 434-793-0000 or use our crime tips app CARE at


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