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Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Recent catalytic converter thefts are under investigation in both South Whitehall and Upper Macungie townships.

By Daryl Nerl

growing nationwide trend involving the theft of catalytic converters from cars and other vehicles has apparently reached the Lehigh Valley.

A thief or thieves recently broke into seven cars parked at a South Whitehall Township automobile dealership and stole catalytic converters from them, according to township police.

The theft of the converters from cars on the Lexus of Lehigh Valley lot at 4500 Broadway was reported to police last week and represents at least the third cluster of catalytic converter thefts reported in Lehigh County since Christmas.

Upper Macungie Township police recently reported that thieves had stolen 14 catalytic converters from cars parked at two businesses along Schantz Road.

Communications Systems Inc. had converters stolen from 10 cars between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2, police said. And four more were taken from Hanaberry HVAC between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.

The converters are valuable because they contain precious metals, such as palladium, platinum and rhodium.

A rise in the value of precious metals combined with ongoing economic struggles is to blame for the spike in converter thefts, USA Today recently reported.

Catalytic converters take toxic pollutants from vehicle emissions and turn them into less toxic pollutants—nitrogen oxides are turned into nitrogen and oxygen, carbon monoxide is converted to carbon dioxide, and unburned hydrocarbons are turned into carbon dioxide and water.

Converters have been a standard part in most automobiles manufactured since the mid-1970s.

Anyone with information about the thefts from Lexus of Lehigh Valley is asked to call South Whitehall Township police at 610-398-0337.

Photo: Lexus of Lehigh Valley in South Whitehall Township (credit: Daryl Nerl)

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