If you see someone scooting out from underneath your car, they probably weren't giving you a complimentary oil change, but were stealing your catalytic converter. Thieves have been busy lately cutting off catalytic converters in Creve Coeur, Town and Country, Des Peres and Shrewsbury. They slip underneath cars with a cordless reciprocating saw and can take off a catalytic converter in less time than you can get a cup of coffee. The car parts are usually sold at scrap metal yards for as much a $100 dollars because of the valuable platinum inside. Police say the thieves are usually trying to get money to buy drugs. Vehicle like SUVs and pickups are more vulnerable because they sit higher, but it's a crime of opportunity and the criminals aren't picky.
To protect your car, police suggest you park in well lit, well traveled areas. They also suggest you park close to the entrance of a store or in an area where your car can be seen by surveillance cameras. There's a device, called the CatClamp, that's designed to protect your car's catalytic converter. It works like a protective cage to prevent thieves from removing your catalytic converter. The CatClamp sells for $150, which is a lot less than the cost of having a new catalytic converter installed.