This is the shocking moment two brazen thieves steal a parked car’s catalytic converter in less than two minutes.
CCTV footage shows the two men drive towards a black Toyota 2006 Prius hybrid parked on a residential street in Cardiff at 12.24pm on February 25.
One of the thieves uses a lever to jack up the car before sliding underneath and removing the £700 catalytic converter as his accomplice keeps watch.
During the clip, one of the suspects uses a lever to lift the car from the ground before crawling underneath the vehicle to cut the catalytic converter.
After removing the device, he places it into the backseat of his car before he and his accomplice drive away from the scene.
The thieves pull up in front of the black Toyota 2006 Prius hybrid in Cardiff at 12.24pm on February 25
One of the suspects uses a lever to raise the car from the ground as his accomplice keeps watch
The incident in Cardiff is just one in a rising tide of incidents as thieves target the exhaust devices for the valuable metals – platinum, palladium and rhodium – they contain, with the Toyota Prius among the most targeted models.
It comes just a month after thieves were captured stealing a catalytic converter from car in Hurley, North Warwickshire, as it sat parked on a residential street.
The car owner had been inside his home eating his dinner when the thieves slid underneath his Astra and removed the device at around 5.30pm on March 7 in a raid which took around five minutes.
Last year figures released from 25 UK forces revealed that the police had investigated at least 21,000 incidents of catalytic converter thefts in 2020 – a rise from the 13,000 recorded thefts reported the year before.
The highest number of cases were in London, which saw 14,684 incidents of catalytic converter thefts, while the West Midlands saw 1,623 cases.
Catalytic converters, which clean harmful gases before they exit a vehicle’s exhaust pipe, are more valuable in hybrid cars because they often contain higher concentrations of precious metals and are generally less corroded.
The suspect removes the catalytic converter from underneath the car before the pair flee
These metals — platinum, palladium and rhodium — are used in converters to capture noxious gases as they flow through a vehicle’s exhaust system.
Once stolen, the converters are offered to unscrupulous scrap-metal dealers or can be sold online for £200 or more a time.
They are then dismantled and the extracted metals sold in powder form to refineries around the world for recycling.
Alternatively, stolen converters can be sold on the online second-hand market, which can be an attractive option for some motorists as a new one can cost up to £1,000.
Admiral Insurance says data shows the four most susceptible hybrid models are the Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris and Lexus RX of all generations and ages.
Last year the AA asked motorists to park their car in a garage whenever possible in order to reduce the chances of their car falling prey to catalytic converter thieves.
Drivers can also mark the metal shell of their converter with a unique serial, so that if it is removed by thieves it will be easier to trace back, and block access to their vehicles with other cars.
A South Wales Police spokesperson said: ‘South Wales Police received a report of a catalytic converter being stolen from a car. There have been no arrests.’
How to avoid becoming a victim of catalytic converter theft
- Keep your vehicle in a garage or secure area if you have one
- Alarms, lighting and CCTV help to deter thieves
- Buy a protection device for you catalytic converter
- Set your dash cam to detect movement
- Park with your exhaust close to a fence, wall or kerb to make it difficult for thieves
- Avoid parking half on the pavement and half on the road as this makes it easier for thieves
- If parking in a car park try to park alongside other cars
- Mark your catalytic converter with your car’s serial number – this makes it harder for thieves to sell it on and means it can be tracked back to your vehicle if police seize it
- Keep an eye out for people acting suspiciously (especially if they are under a vehicle) and report it by calling 999
A catalytic converter contains an inner core with around 5g of precious metals such as platinum