NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s a crime that can cost you thousands of dollars, and it’s getting worse in Tennessee. It’s a trend that has hit close to home for one Nashville man.
“All of a sudden, starting your car, it’s a little Toyota Prius, you now just a little grocery getter type of thing, and fires up and it sounds like a motorcycle all of a sudden,” described Steven Younes. “I’ve now had two catalytic converters stolen from me.”
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Younes has had to deal with this type of crime.
“I thought maybe it’s just one run of bad luck, but apparently I get hit twice so,” Younes said. “I’ve now had two catalytic converters stolen from me.”
In late June, Younes was visiting a friend in the Old Hickory area, when the catalytic converter on his Prius was stolen. Just a little over a month later, it was taken again, from the same car, parked outside of his home. The thieves have left behind a hefty price tag.
“For me, over a thousand dollars, about $1,200… $1,300,” said Younes.
Metro police estimated the value of the metals in those converters, to be about $3,000.
The sound and story of a converter theft are no stranger to Gary Hendricks, owner of Inglewood Muffler & Hitch. News 2, spoke with him just a week before speaking with Younes, and he continues to hear the same story.
“Every few minutes. We probably do 10 to 12 a day, people getting their converters stolen off of their Prius, Honda Elements, box trucks,” said Hendricks, when asked how often they are getting calls from customers in need of help.
| READ MORE | Latest headlines from Nashville and Davidson County
Cars driving in and out, like clockwork — Hendricks explained it never ends.
“Most in one day, as far as stolen converters, probably say 25,” said Hendricks. “I mean, they woke up and went to bed last night, and their car was quiet and now it’s loud and you’re telling them a thousand, $2,000 to fix it. They’re upset.”
Hendricks explained his crew hasn’t seen a demand like this since 2008. It’s not about how easy converters are to steal, most of the time thieves are targeting high-value cars like a Prius, where they can get more bang for their buck.
“They load the vehicle with precious metals, the Prius is the big one to the thief. Those are bringing, at their all-time high. I think they were bringing $1,700 to the core for the used converter,” said Hendricks.
Metro police are investigating Younes’ theft. Police recommend drivers park their car in a garage, purchase anti-theft devices or make sure their surveillance cameras are up and working, to help police identify the thief.